Monday, November 5, 2012

I Won't be Voting Jesus for President

I hate politics.  I don't use that word about very many things, but I mean it about politics.  I hate the bad-mouthing and back-stabbing and lie-telling and reputation-smearing and opponent-bashing that has become synonymous with the word "election".  It makes me utterly determined to vote for absolutely NO ONE.

And I don't think I'm the only one.  I think lots of people get fed up with the whole thing.  And when we well-meaning Christians are the ones who are fed up, we start saying to our friends and posting on our facebook and declaring on our bumper stickers, "Jesus for President!"

It may sound shockingly un-Christian of me, but I wouldn't vote Jesus for president.  Why?  Well, for one thing, because He wouldn't be running.

Why wouldn't He be running?  I mean, wouldn't it be great to have Christ Himself as the leader of this so-called Christian nation?  Couldn't He turn things around?  Who better to bring our nation back to God than His very own Son?  Surely Jesus would run for president if He was still walking this earth as a man!

No.  No, He wouldn't.  And not just for the same reasons that He wouldn't let them make Him king by force in John 6.  Not just because His Kingdom is not of this world like He said in John 18.  But because what is the president, really?  The President of the United States is, ultimately, someone who is completely controlled by the will of the people.  Either he makes decisions we support and creates laws we like and bows to our wishes and caters to our demands, or four years later we dump him and get a new one we think we'll like better.  Right?  That's what it boils down to.  (Reason #8391 why I have no desire to be president.)

And THAT, my friends, is often the problem with our Christianity.  We want Jesus for president.  We want Him and all His wondrous power to be completely controlled by our will.  We want Him to make decisions we support and create laws we like and bow to our wishes and cater to our demands, or we dump Him and find something new.  And most of the time, that "something new" is an idol that looks like an exact replica of ourselves.

But you see, Jesus doesn't run for president.  He doesn't ask to be elected by popular vote.  The Bible gives countless names by which He may be called...and "President" isn't one of them.

Jesus doesn't want to be our president.  He wants to be our King.  The difference is astronomical.

See, a king isn't controlled by the will of the people; a king does whatever he wants.  A king makes decisions whether or not his people support them; he creates laws whether or not they like them; he bows to no one's wishes; and he caters to no one's demands.  You can't dump him and get a new one if you don't like the way he does things.  A king rules absolutely.  Forever.

That sounds harsh to our Burger-King society where food and life and rulers are all governed by our "Have it your way" mentality.  It sounds harsh, but it's truth.  And when we dumb down that truth and try to make Jesus the president instead of the King, we end up with wimpy Christianity.  We become Christians who do what we want, not what He says...and is that really Christianity at all?

Deuteronomy 13:4 says, "It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him."

Notice the language of that verse.  You mustKeep His commands and obey.  Note: there is no "please" or "if you'd like to".  There is only the unconditional command.  Why?  Because He's the King.  Because He deserves it.  Because when we choose to accept Him as Lord of our lives, we give up our right to self-rule and surrender it to His absolute sovereignty.

Sometimes He'll make decisions we don't want to support and create laws we don't like and He won't bow to our wishes and He won't cater to our demands.  But we can't dump Him and get a new one.  And we shouldn't want to.  Because in His sovereignty, with His thoughts and ways that are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), He chooses to love us with a love that never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8) and to work all things together for good for us (Romans 8:28) and to give us everlasting life through His death and resurrection (John 3:16).

So, no.  I won't vote for Jesus for president.  But I will spend the rest of eternity bowing to Him as King.  Can I get that on a bumper sticker?!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Every week at the Little Light House, we have a different Bible story.  This week, it's Joseph.  I like the story of Joseph.  It's kinda like a lot of other stories in the Bible: it's sad, it's happy, it's confusing, it's scary, it's funny, it's out there, it's something we can relate to, it's full of bad choices, it's full of good choices, it's about redemption, and it eventually all comes down to Jesus.

To teach the story of Joseph to preschoolers with special needs, we must simplify the narration.  Obviously.  So we leave out certain things (like Potipher's wife) and we over-emphasize other things (like the coat of many colors), but they get the point: God was with Joseph, and God is with us!

One day last week, our wonderful physical therapist came up with an activity relating to the cupbearer in the Joseph story.  As she was introducing the activity, she explained to the kids that Pharaoh had a cupbearer who brought him his drink, just like their teachers were their cupbearers and brought them their drinks at lunchtime.

Now, I'm not proud of this, but I have to be honest: my initial (internal) response was, "Umm...NUH-UH!!  If we're their cupbearers, that makes us the slaves and them the masters.  That would mean they're in charge, and they do NOT need any encouragement in THAT mentality!!"

As I grumbled to myself, the Lord gave me a little smack upside the head.  He quite clearly spoke to my spirit, "Umm, yes.  You ARE their cupbearers.  You are here to serve them.  (That doesn't mean they're in charge.)  But you are here to serve.  And by serving them, you are serving Me."

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40

I am a cupbearer.  And not just that, I am a cupbearer to the King!!!  Every time I place those sippy cups and cups-with-straws and open-cups-with-one-tiny-mouthful-of-water-so-they-don't-spill-it in front of those kiddos, I am serving the God of Heaven.  What a thought!!

As I marveled at that reality, the Lord brought to my mind a lesson I had been taught years ago about the cupbearer's job.  See, the cupbearer didn't just grab Pharaoh's glass, carry it to the table, and set it down in front of him.  No.  It was the cupbearer's job to taste whatever was in Pharaoh's cup to make sure it wasn't poisoned.  That way, if Pharaoh's drink was poisoned, the cupbearer died instead of Pharaoh.

The cupbearer died to himself that the King might live instead.

That's my job.  Whether I'm setting cups before preschoolers or sitting in a meeting or hanging out with my family or building houses in third-world countries or sitting at my computer late at night writing a blog, I am supposed to die to myself that the King might live instead.  That is the essence of cupbearing, and it's the calling of everyone who chooses to be a follower of Christ.

I don't think it's a coincidence that when Christ was in the garden before He was crucified, He asked His Father to take the cup from Him.  He knew the contents of the cup He was about to drink were poisoned.  But He drank it anyway.  He died to Himself that the King might live instead.  What an example He set for us!!

"Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.'" Matthew 16:24

He set the example, and we are called to follow it.  It's the greatest job in the world, because it's not about us living right; it's about us dying!  It's not about us becoming more; it's about us becoming less!!

"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30

So would you come cup-bear with me?  It's the hardest easy job in the world.  All you have to do is die to yourself that the King might live instead.

...and that's what I learned at preschool this week.