This is one of the hardest blogs I have ever written. Today is Sunday, November 6th and you will be reading this on Wednesday, November 9th. I have no way of knowing what you will be feeling as you ponder the election results. Your candidate may have won or lost, or you may feel like many that the only loser in this election is the American people. On this morning we could have a clear decision or we could be facing a constitutional crisis brought on by either a split vote, widespread voter fraud, cyber-attacks, or the threat of faithless electors that could change a close outcome.
While I cannot possibly predict any of this, I do believe there are three outcomes of this election I can predict. Each of these outcomes calls us, as steward leaders, to specific action starting today, regardless of which scenario is playing out. Let me briefly offer a post-election agenda for all steward leaders, based on the three following beliefs.
We will emerge from this election an angry, bitter and divided nation.
Far from bringing us together, the outcome of the election will likely only serve to deepen existing divisions and add fuel to the anger we already experience. Perhaps you have encountered this contentious spirit personally where wedges have been driven between friends, families, congregations and work teams. Perhaps you struggle this morning with your own anger. I believe it is all but certain that we will inherit an acrimonious post-election culture. As Christians much of this may stay below the surface, but we all know it is there, even in us. How do we respond?
As steward leaders we believe everyone is on a journey of becoming more Christ-like through surrender and faithful obedience. This is a time to walk patiently with our people and help connect them back to God’s agenda and away from their own. This is our opportunity to help our people find healing, trust and a renewed sense of peace as they follow the Prince of Peace. Our work is to model for our people a heart that is unwilling to give in to anger or harbor bitterness, but that humbly and joyfully looks for God’s leading and follows it unconditionally. We must model peacemaking, healing and hope.
We are becoming a less moral nation.
Regardless of how you voted, followers of Jesus must admit that this election process has demonstrated a growing godlessness in our country. From the absence of integrity in the candidates to the behavior of party leaders and the tone of the national dialogue, we are bearing witness to a nation in moral decline. I was in Nigeria very recently and I was surprised by how intensely Nigerians are following the election. Many were more well versed in the issues than most Americans I encounter. A leading Nigerian Christian leader lamented to me, “With this election, America has lost its moral authority.” He went on to talk about how nations used to look to America as a model for what their own country could one day become. “We now just shake our heads and wonder how far America will slide.” How do we respond as steward leaders?
I believe we must be free in our role as faithful stewards to speak the truth into this present age. It is not the role of government or culture to speak up for morality and truth, it is ours. Regardless of which candidate won yesterday, our responsibility to speak God’s call to repentance and holiness with boldness and clarity has never been greater. We must accept the full responsibility to be champions for the truth and understand that we were prepared, called and positioned to be Christ’s ambassadors for such a time as this.
We are a nation looking for hope.
The combination of our growing national acrimony and our cultural moral decline has left many in the body of Christ (and outside it) struggling for a vision of hope. As steward leaders we believe that our hope lies not in human effort but in God’s work in us and through us. This is not the same as saying blithely, “Well, God is in control.” In fact, knowing that the holy and righteous God is in control should more unnerve us than bring us comfort. We cannot expect God to look benignly at our godlessness or give a dispassionate nod to our choosing candidates whose policies are an anathema to Him.
What we do believe, and what we hope for as steward leaders is that God will continue to transform the hearts of His people to work for justice, care for the poor, feed the hungry, build the church, and share the good news of the gospel throughout the earth. Our hope is in God’s continued power and pleasure to work His will in us and through us. In this way, steward leaders must be proclaimers of hope in an increasingly hopeless world.
My encouragement and challenge to you on this first day after the election is to rise to the challenge of the steward leader in these three ways. Model peacemaking in the midst of a divided and angry nation. Champion truth in a culture that has lost its moral compass and rebelled against its God. And proclaim hope in God’s unfailing promise to transform His people to be witnesses to the kingdom of God in this age. In these ways and more, for us as faithful steward leaders, this must be our moment.
Now is the time for Christian leaders to come together!
Join leaders from nonprofit organizations that operate across the nation and around the world as they gather for the Outcomes Conference, April 4-6, 2017. Here you will find abundant opportunities to network, comprehensive training, spiritual inspiration and the focus you need to be faithful stewards in these chaotic times.