This past Saturday I spent some time driving around my neighborhood for no other reason than to look at how things have changed over the years. As I drove, I could not help but notice the different political signs, posters, and flags that people had on display in support of the candidate they are voting for. Then I realized that I am living in a divided neighborhood, at least in terms of political affiliations.
For people of faith this election year has been especially challenging. Why? Because ultimately, we owe our allegiance to God not a political party or candidate. However, at the same time it is our civic duty to vote. It is our right, and our vote can and does make a difference. The challenge is deciding how to differentiate our allegiance to God and our civic responsibility, especially when they seem to conflict. When confronted with the issue of government and religion, (in terms of paying taxes) Jesus held up a coin and asked, “Whose inscription is this?” When they said Caesar, he simply said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” then he left the judgment up to his audience.
What seemed to be most important to Jesus was the inscription and image that signified ownership. If that is true, then we have to ask the question what image do people see in our lives. What is inscribed on our hearts? Is it the inscription of Caesar, like nationalism, individualism, or materialism? Or the inscription of God’s kingdom that is radically different from any kingdom we try to build. As one preacher once said, we walk behind a flag, but never forget we are called to walk behind the cross.
After I cast my vote on Tuesday, I will be pondering the ways in which the image of God is inscribed upon my heart and how well my life reflects that inscription. I hope you will too.
To God be the Glory!