The 2020 general election is already upon us. Many states have already begun early voting, and Election Day is just right around the corner. And, as in every election, at least three things are guaranteed to be true: One, every Christian should vote; two, many of them won't; and three, it actually matters.
On the first point, the fact that every Christian should vote, there really should not be any debate about it.
In the life of Christ, there came a day when he was confronted by a question regarding the believer's responsibility as a citizen of a nation here on Earth. Christ had made no bones about the fact that he was "not of this world," and that statement from him seemed, to his enemies, to provide for an opening to label him as a disloyal Roman subject. So they plied him with a question about taxes:
As we read in Matthew 22:15-21: Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
Christ very skillfully pointed out that believers have dual citizenship; we are citizens of heaven, but we are also citizens of a nation here on Earth, and we have responsibilities to both. To neglect our responsibilities to our nation would produce a bad testimony before the very people that we are trying to convince to be citizens of heaven with us. For a Christian to not vote signals either indifference or laziness on our parts, and that type of character will so sully us in the eyes of the world that they will want no part of the God we proclaim when we come calling with a gospel tract. Even worse, it is actually direct disobedience to the One who told us to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." Not voting is every bit as much of a sin as not witnessing, not tending to the needy and not forgiving those who wrong us. A Christian who does not vote should feel just as guilty about that as a Christian who curses or lies or steals.
As to the second point, though, the fact that many Christians will not vote even though they should, the Barna research group studied the 2016 election and found that 61% of evangelicals voted, 58% of nonevangelical Christians voted and 59% of "notional" Christians voted. In other words, when all of those segments are taken together and averaged, 59% of Christians voted, meaning that 41% did not. In other words, approximately 70 million people identifying as Christians did not vote. I rather suspect, though, that most all of those 70 million will not hesitate to complain about anything in government that they dislike. (https://www.barna.com/research/notional-christians-big-election-story-2016/)
At this point, though, we can cue the third issue, the inevitable "but my one vote out of all of those millions doesn't matter!"
Yes, it does.
For starters, every batch of millions of votes is made up entirely of individual votes. The idea that you will simply not vote because you are just one out of millions, and not the entire deciding factor all on your own, is selfishness and narcissism. Races at every level literally hinge on exactly one thing: who actually shows up to vote. And you voting will also have the multiplication effect of teaching the younger generation to vote and reminding the current generation to join you in voting.
Christians in America have something very precious that a millennia and a half or more of believers did not have: the ability to participate in deciding who will govern them here on Earth. If the Christians of ancient Rome had been blessed with that gift, I rather suspect that they would have gladly used it, rather than simply continue on with the "throw Christians to the lions" policy.
Reading your Bible is wonderful. So is praying. So is going to church. But none of those things will determine who governs you; only voting does that.
So go vote.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.