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Thomas Jefferson taught us the principle that “Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty”. Watchfulness over their government by the citizens of a Republic is the only way to make sure liberty is preserved. And only if liberty is preserved will the Gospel go to the next generation by public means.
And yet, in my upbringing, I was not taught that we should be present to watch over local government meetings- and local government is where most seeds are planted that grow into state and national laws. Consequently, though I was a committed Christian and minister of the Gospel of Christ, I set no time aside to be at local government meetings until I was in my fifties. I simply didn’t see the need for civil government being given any of my time, except to pray for government servants and to try to vote for moral candidates. What’s wrong with this picture?
Number one, it shows we don’t have a Biblical view of the purpose and method of civil government. That means we don’t really believe that government comes from God. In fact, as a young minister I often heard older ministers say that government was a “dirty business” and ministers should stay out of it. (By the way, it never occurred to me at the time that this idea was the very reason it was dirty!!) So instead of learning and doing what the Bible said about government, I gave all of my time to either church or family activities. I gave no time to attending local government meetings. Consequently, I didn’t know what laws were being passed that were going to be binding on me and my children for the rest of our lives. And while I often got angry because government regulations took away more and more of the choices of our family, I didn’t recognize that my failure to be at local government meetings, to speak the truth of the Bible into those discussions, was the very reason we had fewer and fewer choices. While I watched these liberties being removed from us, I still didn’t put it together that my (and others’) lack of participation at local government meetings was the reason we were being dictated to more and more about the way we would live. Government dictatorship rises on the wave of citizen non-involvement!
Christian, consider: If God created government, wouldn’t He have given the primary care of it to His people? Would God create an institution without calling His people to be the stewards of it? If “there is no power [i.e. government authority] but of God…” (Romans 13:1), then the people of God are surely to be the main participants in God’s institution of civil government. That means we must set aside some time for praying for it, for teaching its purpose and methods to our children, for voting, and for attending our local government meetings. Just as we set aside some specific time for eating, sleeping, working to make a living, for being with our family—we must also, set aside some time for government involvement. It’s a major responsibility for Christians!
Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the 1800’s, summed it up so well when he stated,
“…Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God…
“God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”
(Finney, Charles Grandison. Charles G. Finney, Memoirs (NY: A.S. Barnes, 1876). Revival Lectures (first published in 1835, reprinted Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming Revell Co., 1970), Lecture XV, pp. 336-337. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Glory of America (Bloomington, MN: Garborg’s Heart ‘N Home, 1991), 11.2.)
It’s a great blessing from God to get to be involved in civil government. The only other option is to let a dictator make all the government decisions. Which do you want: The blessing or the curse?!
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you— and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson, this has been Think About It.