For the last few years I’ve had the privilege to work as an Election Inspector for Tioga County. I’ve worked some long days with some wonderful people and learned a lot of things. One encouraging thing is that I have gotten to see how much our country matters to a lot of people who make the time to vote.
I’m encouraged that people from different parties, with different ideas about how things should be done in our government, can work together and vote together with respect and civility. I know there are stories of unrest and hostility around our election process, but I don’t believe those are the majority. True, our elections seem to have become more contentious lately, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that “We the people” still have a great right and responsibility; we get to choose, through elections, our representatives that will be in our community, as well as in Albany and Washington.
Election Day is Nov. 8, I encourage you to make the effort to cast your vote. Don’t abdicate your responsibility to vote. You get to choose. And it’s that thought that I’ve been thinking about lately, and not just about elections.
It’s not a coincidence or even an act of any government that we have the ability to choose. Your will comes from the fact that you are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) God made mankind with free will; the ability to choose.
In Deuteronomy 30 (verses 11-20) God tells the people of Israel to choose. He set before them life and death and encouraged them to choose life. But it’s clear that it was their choice.
Still, today, each of us has a life and death choice to make. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 follows that with the chilling realization that, “the wages of sin is death,” followed by the good news that, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Romans 5:8 that gift is further defined as a gift of love, “God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God the Father made the way, Jesus the Son paid the penalty, and each person gets to choose whether to accept the gift or not. Romans 10:13 assures us that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Calling on Jesus is your choice. Just like any gift, you can choose to accept it or reject it.
But here’s another important thing about being able to choose, it’s an action, not just a thought. I’ve talked to lots of people who like the idea of being forgiven and given new life in Jesus. They can even agree that Jesus is real and believe what He’s said is true. But it remains a mental exercise for them; they never do anything about it. Choosing always involves change.
If you choose to go to Vestal from Owego on Route 17 you have to turn onto the ramp to the highway and go there. If you choose to accept Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and life, you have to stop going the way you were going and turn around to follow Him. That’s the idea behind the word “repent”. You get to choose what path you will follow.
And one last thought about choosing; that you get to choose means that you are also responsible for that choice. Romans 1:20 says that “people are without excuse” before God when they choose their own way rather than God’s way.
So, as I encouraged you already, go and vote this week, you get to choose. But also consider the choice that’s before you; believe and follow Jesus or not. It’s bigger than any election. Choose well.