There I was, with the rest of America, watching the election results roll in. Frankly, there weren’t too many channels to choose from on the ol’ TV that weren’t covering the elections on Tuesday night. The commentators were rattling on, and on. The statisticians were working furiously to decide the probability of particular states going to a particular candidate . It was evident that the coffee was flowing, and excitement was in the air. But, right in the middle of the coverage, I heard something extremely startling. No, it wasn’t about any of the candidates. It was about what we contributed to the campaigns.
I heard it quoted that the presidential candidate teams alone spent over $2 billion on the campaign. That does not include all of the money spent by the so-called “Super PACs” that are separate entities. The bulk of that funding came from a lot of folks that live luxurious lifestyles, but a sizable portion also came from the common folk, like you and me. This really got me to thinking. So, I did my nerd thing, and began penciling something out. It wasn’t just the money that was frightening.
Based on my own, extremely conservative modeling, let’s suppose that each state had 100 volunteers working for each of the presidential candidates during the campaigns. So, 200 volunteers per state, for a total of 10,000 volunteers. Now, let’s suppose that these volunteers donated an average of 20 hours to the campaigns. That would be 200,000 hours of time spent fundraising, cold calling, and marketing their particular candidate of choice.
Now, factor in all of the ballot measures and candidates that were on each city, county, and state ballot (ranging from taxes to marriage; senators to clerks); and one could easily make the argument that millions, if not billions, of hours were spent during this past year trying to convince people to vote one way or another. They wanted change, here and now, and they were willing to give their time to the respective causes. Now, add the millions of hours people spent giving their respective opinions on election matters via social media, and the figure could be absolutely staggering.
But, here’s the sad part. What, really did all that time and money accomplish? Yes, a few laws got passed, and some candidates got elected for a term in office. But, did the world change? Some may say ‘yes.’ Others will say ‘no.’ Indeed, elections tend to polarize people; they take a stand against one another. So, while some celebrate a victory, others bitterly oppose what has occurred; often vowing to try even harder next time.
However, we’re doing this all wrong.
According to the Pew Foundation, in 2010 there were over 159 million people that identified themselves as Protestant Christians in the United States. If each of these members of the body of Christ spent only one hour per year sharing the gospel with others, what kind of difference could we make? For those that are mathematically challenged, that would be 159 million hours of gospel-spreading goodness. If we want to effect true change, it must come from the One that changes. Not from us. Paul writes in Colossians 1:6:
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
Now, this post isn’t meant to say we shouldn’t vote. It is our civic duty as citizens of this great country. Instead, I am hoping we can all take stock in how we spend our time and resources. Are we spending them to try and effect man-made changes in our world? Or, are we allowing God to use them to effect change in this world?
This next year, I am challenging myself to make sure my time, my resources, are used to help spread the Gospel message. When humans try to do things, we tend to make it worse. When God is allowed to take charge, He can truly make things better. Perhaps there is a reason He said the following in Matthew 28:18-19:
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Notice, He didn’t say take your message (or anyone elses’ message) to the masses and make them your disciples. Instead, He asks us to spend our time helping spread His message of hope, peace, love, acceptance, and grace; helping mankind find God.
Who will join me in this challenge? Who else wants to make an eternal, positive impact on the lives of those around us? Let’s get this right.