Don’t Cast Your Vote for President!
Three Questions That Will Help You Steward Your Vote This November
This Steward’s Journey blog, and indeed this entire ministry is dedicated to helping us discover the freedom and joy of the faithful steward. This steward theology is based on the fundamental belief that God owns everything in every dimension of our life, and He calls us to faithfully steward our lives according to His direction and the values of His kingdom.
If everything belongs to God, then that must include our vote. In a very real sense, if we are stewards then we must relinquish the idea that we own our vote. It is not actually our vote. Like everything else in creation, it belongs to God. We are called to steward our vote according to His guidance and good pleasure.
In four weeks we will elect a new president. Here are three questions that must guide us as we decide how we will faithfully steward this precious opportunity in a way that glorifies God and serves His kingdom purposes.
The first question is designed to keep us from the temptation to play the owner and believe that it is our vote. If we do we will give in to wrong motivations for casting it such as fear, anger, selfishness, blind loyalties and frustration. These are owner attributes. If we are to faithfully steward our vote, we must ask, “What would God have me do with this vote that reflects His kingdom and bears witness to my commitment to follow Him?”
The second question finds its basis in the first; if we are to steward our vote on behalf of the Owner, then we must not use it to promote evil in any form. For a steward this would be the ultimate denial of our role and direct betrayal of our Master. Owners can justify support for things that are anathema to God. Stewards cannot. Ever. God would never ask us to steward our vote in support of something that He has called evil. Therefore, the second question asks, “Is my vote in any way supporting or promoting that which is anathema to God?”
The third question is one of priorities, and if you have followed my writings you will know how important this question is to everything we do as a steward. It asks about how we define success. We can be tempted here to define success as a ‘vote that matters’. That would mean that only a vote for one of the two main candidates ‘counts’. If, instead, we define success as faithfulness, then what matters (and all that matters) is that we vote according to the guidance and will of the Owner. The third question is this, “Is my vote a faithful response to God’s leading?”
What would it look like if we all cast our vote as stewards? If we sought to have our vote bear witness to our faith, avoided supporting evil at all costs, and measured success in terms of our level of faithfulness to the way God leads us? Can we really vote in any other way?
At the risk (I realize a very large risk) of being too transparent and vulnerable, I would like to use my own decision making process as an example of how these question have guided my thinking. Please hear me when I say that I am NOT advocating for you to arrive at the same conclusions I have. I simply want to illustrate how these questions have guided me through this important and complex process.
I started with the need to repent of my ownership attitude toward my vote. I have been tempted to let fear, anger, party loyalty and selfishness influence my decision. When I turned my vote over to God and saw it as a gift from Him to be used for His purposes, things became a bit clearer. More importantly, my heart found a place of peace it had been missing.
The second question required me to ask to do some real soul searching. I sought to move beyond disagreement on issues and focus on the identification of positions God would find antithetical to His nature and will. Clinton’s promotion and support of partial birth abortion is exactly that. Her advocacy for an expansion of abortion practices to include the termination of a child in the third trimester of life is the definition of evil in the sight of God. This is not the only issue of serious concern to me as a steward of my vote. There are a number of other reasons for me, as a follower of Jesus, to be gravely concerned about her positions and her character. But her support for partial birth abortion alone makes a vote for Clinton unconscionable. How can I, as a steward and follower of the Author and Giver of Life, cast my vote for a candidate who promotes a culture of death?
On the Republican side there is much I support including the sanctity of life, preservation of traditional marriage, safeguarding our religious freedom and seating a conservative Supreme Court. However, they have chosen as a candidate a person who is inciting division and hatred in an already incendiary atmosphere. The cumulative effect of Trump’s rhetoric betrays a racism and sexism that denies the image of God and fuels division. Despite my support for much of the Republican platform, how I can follow the God who commands me to love my neighbor as myself and still cast a vote for this man? And if my vote is meant solely to deny the presidency to Clinton the cost is becoming excruciatingly high.
This is the dilemma I hear from so many of my fellow believers. How much compromise can a person tolerate in voting for an undesirable candidate in order to support the platform that best aligns with their beliefs? Some on both sides have come to peace with a great deal of compromise because the cost of losing is just too high. Others have concluded that if you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil. I sympathize with both.
If you are struggling with this dilemma on either side of the aisle, then consider my third question. What would it mean to be a faithful steward of our vote if we rejected the pull of fear and anger (the first question), and refused to vote for evil in any form (the second question)? If our definition of success is faithfulness it is wholly legitimate to select a person who reflects kingdom values and is competent to lead our nation and cast a write-in vote in November. As I write this I hear many of you saying, “but that vote won’t count. It is a wasted vote.” I would caution such a judgment. God asks us to be faithful. Period. And if you truly believe that casting a vote that ‘counts’ requires you to promote positions that are anathema to God, then you must respectfully decline. For each of us, voting must be a matter of obedience first and only.
One last point before I close. Some will say by refusing to vote for evil I am looking for the perfect candidate, that all candidates are flawed and all platforms contain unsavory positions for Christians. I thought that critique through and I reject it. This is the eleventh presidential election in which I will cast a vote. In reviewing the previous ten I can honestly say that I have never struggled with the question of evil like this, nor have I viewed any of the candidates on either side as morally bankrupt and ethically unfit to lead our country. This year is unprecedented in the lack of integrity in both candidates and the presence of real evil in the words and platforms they champion. Clearly we need a passion for faithfulness and a discerning spirit like never before.
Let me emphasize again that the positions I hold are not meant to be prescriptive. I honor the fact that many of you will apply these three questions and arrive at different conclusions. My point is not to persuade you to my conclusion, but to encourage you to embrace these three questions as your guide in your own process of decision making. What is important is not who you vote for, but for whom you vote.
So let me close by asking again;
Will you cast a vote as a steward that reflects the heart and will of the true Owner, and bears witness to your commitment to follow His leading?
Will you refuse to vote for anything that is anathema to God?
Will you seek to be faithful in your vote, trust God for the outcomes and let that be your one criteria for success?
My prayer is that these questions will help guide you in such a way that on November 8th you can lay your head down on your pillow and hear the words from your Savior, “Well done, good and faithful steward.” To God be the glory.
P.S. I would invite your comments on whether these questions are helpful, how you have applied them and whether in doing so you have changed your mind or re-confirmed your own decision. Thanks.