Let’s Vote Differently This Time

by Joseph Franks

There are those who elect a candidate based upon his or her political party. It doesn’t matter who the individual is or what their platform consists of, if they are the final representative nominated by their political party, this nominee will get their vote.

Others prefer to base their vote upon the candidate’s family name, region of the country, vibrancy, ethnicity, attractiveness, or brashness. Pomp, pride, presentation, and personality are most important to such voters. After all, it’s been a long time since there has been someone with the swagger of JFK in office.

For most, votes are based upon issues. Some will give their allegiance to the individual who promises the biggest government and the most entitlements. Others are driven by the ideas of tax reform, budget reform, entitlement reform, fiscal reform, educational reform, marriage reform, border reform, and healthcare reform.

However, while some of the issues listed above are petty, and some are vitally important, it is my contention that such considerations should not be given ultimate weight. This year, American’s should learn from the past, learn from the Scripture, and vote differently.

And what factors should “Rock the Vote?” Perhaps the scriptural admonition found in 1 Samuel 12 should be of great assistance. New governance was being established in Israel, and the consequences for the nation could be either bitter or sweet. It all depended upon the leadership of the leader. Would he be godless or godly?

And Samuel said to all Israel, “… I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”  …  “And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king” … “And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake … Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”     (1 Samuel 12)

The same is true for the United States of America. If her next leaders are poor, the consequences will continue to be dire. However, if her leaders are good, much blessing could again fall upon our land. So, according to 1 Samuel 12, what are the characteristics of a good leader?

First, the good leader is one who spends himself for his people. He is not one who fleeces the flock, but one who gives his life for his sheep. Samuel is not one who redistributes the wealth of his constituents. He has not an entitlement mentality. He strives to leave the oxen and donkeys alone as he serves his people. Samuel is not interested in being an “oppressive” leader.

Second, the good leader is one who walks transparently, with integrity, and is blameless before his constituency. He is not one who is embarrassed of what might be found coming out from him closet. He is not one who is concerned over what may be found on his computer server. His life is an open book, and when people look within and read the pages, there is little sin against God and neighbor to be found. Samuel calls forth both God and his people to witness against him, and with a unanimous voice they testify to his faithful track-record.

Third, the good leader is humble, teachable, and willing to make necessary adjustments. He is one always ready to repent and do the next right thing. In this account, if an error or transgression is brought to Samuel’s attention, he is ready to make amends and restore.

Fourth, the good leader walks and governs according to the wisdom of God. When he reviews biblical and secular history, he recognizes how God blesses those who walk according to his precepts. Therefore, he is a man who studies, teaches, and legislates according to the infallible wisdom of the scriptures. He would not enact and support wicked legislation that results in devastating consequences.

Fifth, the good leader has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s right, he is a Christian who knows how to pray for his people.

So yes, we ought to care about an individual’s stance on a host of issues. And it doesn’t hurt to support a candidate who is winsome in looks and who speaks with a golden tongue. And experience in public office can be a great asset. However, this go-around, how about a man or woman who is wise, humble, bold, transparent, limited, able to surround himself with gifted intellects, and godly.

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