Participate in Society
By Jesse Pingenot in Student
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land (Prov 31:23).
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy (Prov 31:8-9).
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:10).
Are you voting next week?
Not just for the presidency—but definitely for that as well—but there are tons of offices up for election right now. Not to mention issues to be decided by vote as well.
I’m going to be away from my voting jurisdiction for a work conference, so I got an absentee ballot. On my ballot were: president of the U.S., U.S. senator, U.S. Congress representative, state governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, state legislature representative, county commissioner, county sheriff, county assessor, county treasurer, public administrator, and four judges. On top of that, there are one state constitutional amendments and one proposition.
There is more then just the presidency at stake.
So often, people say, “So many people are voting, my vote doesn’t matter.” Maybe you could say that for the presidency (I don’t agree, but let’s accept it for now). But your vote is a lot more significant for your U.S. Congressional representation, for your state offices, and for state amendments and propositions. Even more significant for your county positions!
Your vote matters. Even, I would argue, for president—you may not get the candidate you want elected, but by voting, you are letting your voice be heard. It is one thing for a candidate to win with fifty-three percent of the vote when only 100,000 people voted; it’s quite another if 100,000,000 people voted.
Voting, even when you don’t get your way, lets the candidates know how much actual support they have.
What does this have to do with the Bible verses at the start of this post? Let’s go in order:
Proverbs 31:23: People so often talk about the Proverbs 31 woman, but this passage also talks about the man. And what does this verse mention? That he is involved in his community! What does it mean that he “sits among the elders of the land”? A rough equivalent for today would be that he’s a member of the city council. He’s involved in the running and health of the community.
He is “known in the gates” means that he is respected in this endeavor. The gates are where those elders met. He’s not just some random guy, but he regularly speaks there; he is known and respected.
The Proverbs 31 man makes involvement in his community a priority, a regular part of his life.
At that time, men were generally the only ones who did this (though it was not exclusive in the Bible). But that is not so in our culture, so this is not just for men. Men and women: community involvement need to be a part of your life! Not just in the Church community, but in the community at large as well.
When was the last time you went to a city council meeting? Have you ever voted for mayor or your school board? You have the right and privilege to vote. And the more local the election, the more your vote counts. You have no excuse.
Prov 31:8-9: I chose this to show that caring for the health of the community, even in a patriarchal society like during Solomon’s time, was also the responsibility of women. It was not just in governance, but in caring for the needy.
I want to make clear: this is not some sly attempt to persuade you to vote one way or another. I don’t know of any political party that doesn’t care about taking care of the poor and needy. They all value that; they just disagree on how to do it.
I despise how politicized caring for the needy has become. “If you don’t vote ____, you don’t care about _____” is heard over and over again, on every side. How about you start helping people rather than spending all your energy yelling at people for disagreeing with you? While everyone’s yelling at each other, people are literally dying.
Gal 6:10: “do good to everyone” is the command. Paul then emphasizes “especially to those in the household of faith”—that is, the Church. But that is not exclusive. Yes, we absolutely need to support each other in the Church! But that does not mean that you don’t also contribute to the welfare of your city and your society!
So vote! Be someone who participates in your society! Welcome to adulthood!
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.