Nov. 4, 2016

Let's combine astuteness with prayers in this election

“For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light” (Lk.16:8)

Jesus uses the astuteness of the crafty steward to highlight the need to invest in the kingdom of heaven. This steward summons his master's debtors and trims their debts down to his favor. He says to the first debtor, "How much do you owe my master?" When the debtor responds, "One hundred measures of olive oil", he slashes it to fifty immediately. The same he does to the second debtor. In the parable, we notice elements of insincerity though, but that's not what Jesus is emphasizing. Scripture scholars allege that the steward is enriching himself and wisely deducting his own commission. Others argue that he is reducing the unjust interest owed to his master. Whatever be the case, his master who is initially enraged with him, later commends him for taking such measures- "The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness" (Lk.16:8). In the parable, Christ encourages the use of wisdom and prudence in dealing with the things of this world.

One area that demands astuteness today is politics. Only the astute and wise can deal with politicians. Politicians are smart for sure, and often times crafty. As the U.S. Presidential elections come quite close, it would be important to remind Christians of the need to be astute. Astuteness demands consciousness of the values of Christian faith. We need to think about election in relation to our faith. Our material wellbeing must be placed side by side our goal for salvation. One great question to ask would be, “Does that which I cherish promote life”? We need astuteness to follow our consciences and to vote for those candidates that uphold or at least that would create an atmosphere that enables Christians to profess their faith.

There are two ways to do that: 1). Participation – Cast your vote. Do not sit back and grumble or whine, it doesn’t bring about change. Vote for the candidate of your choice during this election. When you vote, you increase the chances of having the right candidate according to your conscience and belief. When you vote you reduce the chances of having the wrong person win. When you vote you fulfill your civil and human rights as citizen. When you vote you enhance the chances of getting what you want in a democracy. That's what God intended when he blessed the man saying, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it" (Gen.1:28). We conquer the earth by participating in decisions that influence the governance of the state, one of which is voting during election.

2). Prayer: History records that the practice of praying for kings dates back to the time when the Persian King Cyrus (c. 600 or 576 – 530 BC) ended the Babylonian exile and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple. When we pray, we recognize the power of God over all created things, for “Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance” (Wis.11:22). When we pray, we fall back to God as the owner of human wisdom. When we pray, we invite God into the world of human conditions. When we pray, we ask his support and guidance. The Israelites suffered under Pharaoh in Egypt. They called on God, cried to him, and he delivered them through Moses. The Israelites beckoned on God before the choice of their leaders- Joshua, Aaron, Samuel, David, Saul, Solomon, etc. And each time they failed to call on God, they made wrong choices.

Paul reminds us thus, “I ask for supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings to be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may live a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity” (1Tim,2:1-2). And Christ reminds us to be astute in our choices. We have to combine astuteness with prayers, especially now.