God cares what we do with our lives
The story told by Jesus in Luke's gospel is about a desperately poor man named Lazarus who sat outside a very wealthy man's house for years but was ignored. After the wealthy man died, he was tormented by the fact that he failed to see, let alone care for the poor man who had sat at his gate for years. The message is clear. It warns us to not squander our opportunities to help those who are suffering and in need.
In this age of information and worldwide electronic connection, we are all more than aware of the desperate poverty, suffering and brokenness in our world. Like the rich man in Luke's gospel, brokenness sits at the gate of our awareness and challenges us to respond.
It is literally God making a plea to us for connection and compassion.
I call attention to this story on the eve of our 2022 midterm elections. While The Fig Tree is dedicated to telling stories of those who are responding to the world's brokenness with compassion and dedication, I would like to remind us that how we vote must also be an expression of compassion and dedication to doing God's work for rebuilding the world.
The Fig Tree does not endorse political parties or candidates, but what it does endorse is God's justice and care for all of creation by telling stories about people of faith and goodwill making a difference in the world.
The people whose stories run in the pages of this publication are working for justice and right relationships in the world. They are doing the work that people in elected positions ought to be partnering with.
As a person of Christian-Mennonite faith, I strongly hold to the separation of church and state, but I do want and expect my elected representatives to follow God's mandate to "seek justice, love kindness, and walk with humility." So, I vote accordingly.
Do I put my faith in any one candidate? Do I think any of the candidates perfectly meet my standards? No.
I do expect them to hold to a certain basic level of decency, fairness and love for the common good.
At the end of the day, we are all going to be held to account for what we did or did not do with the precious, fragile and fleeting moment of time we are given on this planet. At the end of this life it won't matter whether one holds political office or not. Though there is a warning to all who hold political power, "to those who are given much, much is expected."
Politician or not, when all is said and done, I believe what God cares about most is our ability to answer the one great question posed most succinctly by the poet Mary Oliver, "And tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
Gary Jewell, Mennonite Pastor, The Fig Tree Board