Who would you be more likely to vote for? A liar? Or a cheat? When I worked at the polls last month on election day, an older gentleman approached our table. I said, “Good afternoon. Thank you for coming to vote.”
And he replied, “Well, I still haven’t decided who to vote for. The liar or the cheat.” (He was referring to the governor’s race.)
So often when I vote, I don’t feel enthusiastic about who I am voting for. It can feel like a choice between the lesser of two evils. Or a choice about who will do the least harm. Or I feel like I am voting for someone just because I can’t stand the opponent. Seldom do I feel I have the opportunity to vote for someone that I really believe shares my values and concerns and will do something.
This season we focus on the birth of Jesus and his life and ministry. Was he a liar? Not outright that we know of. Was he a cheat? Again, not that we know of, though those money changers in the Temple may think so. With Jesus there is no deception. There is no guile. There is no hidden agenda. There is no manipulation. There is no payback.
Jesus simply invites people to live in a way that creates just and caring community for all people. He shows us a path that does not create victims. He embodies generosity of spirit, of forgiveness, and of material resources. He is pure goodness. Pure compassion. Pure honesty. To hang your hat with Jesus is not to “settle.” It is to pursue our highest good.
Jesus invited people, all kinds of people to follow him. So, we do have a decision to make about Jesus. Are we going to entrust ourselves to him? Are we going to follow him? Are we going to let him be our guide in life?
Or will we follow a liar or a cheat? There are plenty of other people, products, values, and perspectives vying for our allegiance and our loyalty. Greed chases us down. Pride lures us. Ease and comfort seduce us. Individualism beckons to us. All of these are based on lies, deception, and delusion.
Can we believe that there is someone who is truly worthy of our whole heart? Our ultimate commitment? Our undivided trust?
For Reflection: Are there ways that we are resisting following Jesus? What are the costs of the choices we make that take us away from Jesus?
Prayer: We are thankful for this season in which we remember the gift of Jesus. He came to give abundant life to the whole world. He is peace and joy. He is reconciliation and hope. May we receive him as he is – good and true. Amen.