Do I dare? Do I touch this? Sure, why not. Everyone else seems to be commenting on this, so why not me. Maybe I can offer a different perspective.
I know it’s dangerous to talk about partisan politics – so many people have their loyalties to one party or the other and hence have a cemented opinion about political leaders, including the President. I’m just as guilty. But I’m wondering what we can learn from this latest episode of the President speaking in front of the Boy Scouts.
Before I go on, I have to say, I haven’t seen the speech, nor read it. There’s a pretty good chance I never will. What I’m more interested in is the reaction to his speech.
Trump doesn’t really interest me. I think he’s pretty predictable. Say something outlandish in order to get a response – that way everyone is talking about him. Whoever controls the conversation, is the one with real power. If we have learned anything it is that he’s really good as drawing attention to himself. And many people feel the need to be sucked into whatever the latest tweet or thing he said is.
When I contemplate this episode, I can’t help but think of this past Sunday’s Gospel lesson in Matthew 13:24-30 – the parable of the wheat and the weeds.
“He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
I’m not interesting in determining if Trump is the sower of the weeds or the seeds (depending on your political leanings), or is a weed, or something else.
What I’m interested in is this – What are we called to? How are we to relate and react to the President or any other politician we may disagree with, or as some believe, find to be a danger? Remember, every President, since Washington was president, had an opposition that couldn’t stand them. Every President has faced threats of impeachment – yes, even the “universally” loved Washington. Every President has been viewed as evil by some and as a wonderful leader who can save the nation by others.
And in each case, the faith and hope in that person is misplaced. Or rather, too much faith and hope is placed in that person. It doesn’t matter if that person is Trump or if it was Obama.
Christians are called to be wheat in the world of weeds. We are called to live differently. To, dare I say it, have different loyalties – (sounds so un-American, doesn’t it?)
So what do we do with a politician who desires to be the center of the universe? The same thing you do when you deal with a black hole – avoid being sucked in. You live your life. You stay in control of your emotional state. You realize that you aren’t going to like what the person says or tweets and you determine the best way to stay informed without being controlled by the person. You don’t allow this person to determine what you do each day or what your emotional state will be.
Most important – you live out your calling, no matter what. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to house the homeless, to visit the imprisoned, to care for the sick, to acknowledge the humanity in others, to tap into the value of those that feel valueless.
In other words, to build up the kingdom of God, regardless of what happens in DC or who sits in the Oval Office. Yes, some people make that easier and some make it harder. You don’t have control over that. You have control over how you react and what you do going forward.
Our hope isn’t in the person of the President – regardless of who it is. It’s in the person of Jesus.
Our future isn’t tied to the President, our future is in Jesus.
Our loyalty, dare I say it, isn’t to the President first, but to the kingdom of God first.
Whether you are thrilled that Trump is president or dismayed, this administration isn’t permanent – nothing here is. At some point in time, his name will be forgotten to the ashes of history. But God, and God’s kingdom, will not. In the end, God’s kingdom prevails. That is where our hope is – that is where our faith lies.
Responding to a politician with anger isn’t going to change the politician or how they act. It certainly won’t make us feel better either. You can’t change weeds into wheat. You can only be wheat. We need wheat in the world of weeds. We need to be wheat in relation to politics. There are plenty of weeds in the world. Plucking the weeds is a never-ending battle that is exhausting. Being wheat though is different. Wheat actually feeds people and gives life to those around us. It’s time to be wheat, and plant more seeds.