Every four years, Labor Day marks the beginning of the final push of a long political campaign cycle. The holiday that celebrates the accomplishments of the American worker is also when many start to pay attention to politics. I submit that work and politics can be distracting, but not how you might think.
Work is a distraction when it is simply a mundane means to money. You can view it as how you are pressed to pass time, or better, how you are privileged to serve people. Every job at some level is about people. If not customers, clients, or consumers, at least it’s about your family that benefits from your labor. But more than that, work is your opportunity to change the part of God’s world that you touch. It is the place you influence people by your ethics, words, and performance. The Christian worker’s calling is, “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24). Work is not a distraction, it is your opportunity to live out your faith and values.
Politics is a distraction when it masquerades as the only solution. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Our vote is not our only tool, nor is every problem fixed by a vote. But it is easy to think so when most headlines scream about the politicians’ latest problems, promises, and polls, and when well-meaning people explain that if we don’t vote their way we are inviting disaster for the church and morality. Consider for a moment that God’s response to the saints’ pleading for a great spiritual awakening might look like this strange election. Where the world today is experiencing mass movement to Jesus, you don’t find a church that is comfortable, free, and basking in a culture enlightened by Biblical morality. For sure, vote your conscience, but don’t let it distract you from praying, trusting God, and accepting His story for our history.
C.S. Lewis, in “Screwtape Letters,” has one demon writing to another that people “find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things. Do remember you are there to fuddle him.” If work and politics are ordinary to us, then we are befuddled. But our heavenly Father has an extraordinary plan. Extraordinary things are not a distraction.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).