The Most Profound Question for Voting

I’ve been praying through what I should do with my vote this election. I don’t feel any obligation to vote one party or another, nor do I feel an obligation to vote. That’s because neither political party fully embodies the values of the Kingdom of God. My allegiance to Jesus allows me to navigate my personal involvement with the government as a citizen of another kingdom (Philippians 3:20). As just one example, my stance on being pro-life from the womb to the tomb (which I get from Jesus) puts me at odds with different parts of each party. This has meant that in the past there were times I voted Republican, times I voted Democrat, and times I intentionally chose not to vote.

I don’t decide how to vote until after I’ve prayed over it and felt peace with the result (I’d highly recommend this rather than assuming one option only). Recently, I’ve found much clarity in thinking through one question in particular.

LifeWay Research recently asked evangelical voters what I think is the most profound question we should consider when it comes to how we vote: “Who do you hope your presidential vote benefits the most?”

The results are shocking for a few reasons. First, LifeWay found that “Evangelical voters are more likely than other registered voters to say they hope their vote most benefits people nationwide who are like them.” That category alone represented 41% of people. When you add in the category of benefitting “Me and my family,” the total jumps to 61%. That means the majority of evangelical voters are trying to ensure people like them are taken care of with the election of the next president.

The second thing that stood out to me from the survey was the theme of two of the other categories: “People our country has failed,” and “People nationwide who are different than me.” I confess to my own remorse that neither of these categories played predominantly in my own mind as I considered how I might vote this year. Yet when I read each of them as options I immediately thought that this is how we use what we have to benefit others. Or said differently, this is what the Gospel looks like in a vote. This is why I was stunned to see only 15% choosing the first category and just 9% choosing the second. And remember, these are Christians in this survey rather than a survey of voters at large.

To my Christian readers… I plead with you that we must do better. The Gospel requires it of us. Our vulnerable brothers and sisters need it from us.

These survey results break my heart, but I also believe there is an opportunity here to change course. Rather than considering the election in the normal either/or rhetoric which assumes Trump/Biden or Republican/Democrat, I think we as Christians need to prayerfully consider how we might best live out the Gospel in a moment like this. I submit that voting to primarily take care of people like us is missing what it means to follow Jesus. Instead, what would happen if Christians led the way in voting for how we as a country can best take care of those in need?

As I’ve been praying through my own actions in this election as well as LifeWay’s question, Jesus’ words in Matthew seem especially relevant. I’ll close with them here without further comment. If you’re looking for an either/or to use, Jesus offers the sheep and the goats.

Matthew 25:31-46

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

Who do you hope your presidential vote benefits the most? Share on X

Click here to read the original LifeWay article.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.