Unless you’ve been under a rock for months, you surely must be aware of the fact that we are in a presidential election year. Those with an interest in politics were interested in the results of the recent caucuses in Iowa. Those results have been analyzed, scrutinized, and criticized. I have no desire to add to any of that discussion.
However, before the dust completely settles from the results of the “Hawkeye Cauci,” I would like to make one non-political, non-partisan observation. I have no desire to endorse any particular candidate. I merely want us to transfer some of the methodology from Iowa to something much more important.
As I understand it, if I happened to be a citizen of Iowa and wanted to show my support for a candidate, there is a way of doing that which is unique to that state. Here is (again, according to my understanding) what I must do. On a given date, I must go to a specific location. Once I am at that location, I must “caucus” with others who support the same candidate whom I support. That is to say that I must physically assemble with them.
If I want my preferences to count, I must do this even though the caucuses are held at night. I must be there physically, even if the night and time during which the caucuses are scheduled is inconvenient for me. For my vote to count, I must be there regardless of the weather (which in Iowa in February can be very “iffy”). The bottom line is that, if I truly care about “my candidate,” I will make every effort to show my support by my presence.
There are other “caucuses” held on a regular basis all over the world. Followers of Christ meet together to, in one sense of the word, show their support for Him. Just as there is strength in numbers in the political arena, there is strength in numbers among Christians. Besides our show of strength for our Lord, we strengthen each other as we assemble.
The times of those assemblies may be different in different areas. What many of us are familiar with are Sunday morning Bible classes; Sunday morning and evening worship; and Wednesday evening Bible classes. The regularity of my presence and the amount of my participation says a lot about my real support for the cause of Christ and my concern for my “fellow supporters.”
Let’s suppose that I am a citizen of Iowa. Let’s suppose that I had been very vocal about my support for “candidate A.” Let’s suppose that you live in another state; are a friend of mine; and know of my support for him/her. After all, I have saturated social media with positive comments about “my guy/gal.” It seems that I want the world to know how committed I am to this cause.
Let’s suppose further that you turn on your television and discover, to your surprise, that the network you are watching has cameras and reporters where I am supposed to be caucusing. You look and look, but you don’t see me there.
While we are supposing, let’s suppose you care enough about me to get in touch with me in order to find out why you didn’t see me. You learn that there is a very simple reason why you didn’t see me. You didn’t see me because I wasn’t there!
Why was I not there? After all of the vocal and “posted” support, why did I fail to attend this very important event?
That could be any number of things I’ve heard over the years as I’ve tried to encourage people to be more faithful in their attendance when the local church assembles. The excuses include (but are not limited to)–my child had a ballgame that night; my wife and I chose to go out to eat and watch a movie; I thought it would be a good time to go shopping since everybody else was tied up with these caucuses; I had to get up early to go to work the next day; my children have a lot of homework; my favorite television show is on at that time; I had tickets to a concert/ballgame; or that the weather forecast was slightly less than optimal.
Every four years, the people of Iowa make an important statement merely by “being there.” I make a much more important statement on a regular basis by my presence–or absence–when the Lord’s people assemble for worship and Bible study.
I did not grow up in Iowa. I grew up in Illinois. One of the jokes about the politics of that state is that the citizens are encouraged to vote early and vote often during each election. Of course, that is not legally possible in politics. It is, however, possible with regard to my support for the Lord and His church.
I pray that all who read these words will “make their votes count.”