MAY WE ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER
I am going to give one more Sunday to the election that has taken place this past week in America. While everything is not officially settled yet, it is becoming clearer what the results are. As I mentioned last Sunday, some will be happy with what the final results are and some not so much. We are so blessed to have elections on a regularly scheduled basis here in America where we get to choose every two and four years the direction this nation may go. There is no question this election has been different from any other in large part because of the coronavirus. Election laws were changed in an attempt to provide more safe opportunities to vote. This, however, has created more questions and confusion for some than we have ever had before. I pray each of us will accept as best we can the results this year and be willing to move on together.
When we look at the scripture we read this morning, it points out Christians will have disagreements. It is one thing to disagree over key points of what the Bible says. It is something quite different about issues that do not seem to really affect what is at the root of our Christian faith. In these verses, we see there have been disagreements in the church about what we should eat and about what days we should consider as more important and sacred than others. Paul is trying to remind the church there are some things that deserve to be discussed and even fought for and others that are more of an individual decision. Paul is reminding us to make sure we are doing what we are doing for the right reasons. In verse 12 he reminds us we will each give an account to God for what we say and do. That should make each one of us to take a step back and carefully consider what we believe and why we believe it.
I do not know how many of you watch and follow elections closely at the local, state, and federal levels, but for those who do who wins and loses can be a big deal. It is a good thing for us to be concerned and involved in what is happening in our nation. Once again, we are so blessed by God to have the opportunity to live in a country in which each citizen can vote for people we believe will lead in ways we most closely identify with. And while we should take seriously the privilege we have in America to vote and have some say in things, we need to remember we are on this earth for a very short time compared to eternity. The most important decision we will make is whether we have made Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Yes, elections matter. They do affect our lives in sometimes very important ways, but I remind you of what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11. “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” We must remember this earth, this country is not our final destination. Peter was reminding us not to get overly tangled up in the things of this world. Those things can distract us and even lead to sin. We read last week that those who are in places of authority have been
placed there by God for a reason. As Christians, we are obligated to listen to our leaders out of faithfulness to God.
At one point, the Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus with a clever question. Jesus had been emphasizing the importance of faithfulness to God and saying how important it is to be devoted completely to him. In Matthew 22:15-21, we read, “When they asked him the question, is it right for God’s people to pay taxes to the evil Roman Empire?” As most of you remember, Jesus asked one of them for a coin. He asked whose name and inscription was on it, which they answered “Caesar’s,” Jesus response then was, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
As we consider what the impact of this election and future elections may be, we need to remember not to allow ourselves to get distracted from what really matters. There is a community, a state, a country, a world that needs Jesus Christ in its life. Nothing else matters when it is all said and done if we have not made sure our most important focus is sharing Jesus Christ in whatever form that might take. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Again, elections can be very important. We should take advantage of the opportunity we have to have our voices heard. When it is all said and done, it is time to get about the more important task of living a life that is truly pleasing to God. There will be times we need to agree to disagree about some of the things going on around us. We read in Romans 14 that we should not make things that do not really affect what God wants us to do while we are here on this earth into bigger things than they should be. That also includes political disagreements. To remind you one more time, Romans 14:12 says each of us will give an account for our lives before God. I pray when all the dust settles, we will move forward as Americans, but most importantly as Christians, as there is still much to do.
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Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Tim Lynch; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Bertha Eveland; Betty Moore; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Bailey & Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 237,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; wildfire and hurricane victims; District of IL/WI; nursing home residents
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Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.