Saturday, October 11, 2014

Courier-Times article for Saturday, October 11, 2014: Small Things

Small Things

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke 16:10 ESV)

“If you don’t vote, don’t complain,” was the memorable advice I received from a man in 1980. I remember the year because we were doing mock elections for the Jimmy Carter / Ronald Regan campaign.

That man was born in the 1890s and I loved talking to him. He’d seen a lot of changes in his days. He remembered seeing his first car and the first time he saw an airplane. He’d served in the cavalry and lived through the Great Depression.

I remember him telling me swallowing watermelon seeds would cause watermelons to grow in my stomach. Balance the lie about watermelons, and some other tall tales in the mix and it’s true to say I wasn’t so sure when I should listen to that man and when I shouldn’t. For example, watermelon seeds aside, this man told me “…‘puters are going to ruin the world!”

No watermelons have sprouted in my stomach.
I’m still living by the advice of “if you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

We’re still waiting on the verdict with the “’puters”, even as I type on this fine HP Pavilion dv7.
I also remember being charged with being Ronald Regan for the mock election in school that year, and I remember it being a tall order for me. I was in the fourth grade, and, like most fourth graders, my politics were my parents’ politics. That is, for me, until that school year. My parents were, are and will probably remain die-hard Democrats. I remember seeking counsel from my dad for the assignment. He said, “Go ask to be Jimmy Carter.”

“Pop, I can’t be Carter; I have to be Regan.”

“Well, you’re gonna flunk. The last Republican I voted for was Richard Nixon; look how that turned out,” was his terse reply.

There was no internet. All I had was the television and the library. Fortunately, the library had newspapers and magazines, and, even more fortunate, my grandma made sure I was able to access those resources.

I listened carefully to the news. I read magazines and newspaper articles. I worked hard to understand Regan’s plans and positions.

Now, let me say this, I was not a Democrat and did not become a Republican, and I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for either party; then, or now.

What did happen to me because of this experience: I became informed.

We had to form a team at school. Our team had to work together to put together a campaign, complete with articles for other classmates to read, short speeches and we had to prepare for a debate between the candidates.

Amid a very Democrat community, our team pushed Ronald Regan to victory in that local school mock election.

I was raised on the state line. I went to Halifax County schools for K-4th and 10th grade, and Person County schools for 5th-9th and 11th-12th. I say that to say this; I remember that 1980 election well, and remember Person County going with Jimmy Carter and Halifax County going with Ronald Regan.

Now, you might be thinking, “I thought this was the ‘Faith and Worship’ section of Courier-Times, not ‘Commentary and Analysis.’” Don’t worry; you are in the right place.

I wanted to thoroughly illustrate how one man’s sound advice shaped my life. He said, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.” If you have been given a trust, use it. Be a good steward. Be trustworthy. When you’re not those things, don’t fuss about the results.

As a citizen, I’ve been given the small privilege of voting, but with it comes the grand privilege of being part of a peaceful and orderly society. If a person is not part of the peaceful process, then don’t add or detract from discussion about it. Be subject to the decisions and hush, or help make the decision and speak up.  

Here’s the “Faith and Worship” portion, and all of those stories and all of those comments and stories above were meant to help you understand this truth: God has given each of us many, many small trusts, and even some very large ones. We are to be living in wise, good stewardship.

We are to be being – get that, be being – good stewards. We WILL answer to God for all that is in our care, including our own lives and the free will that comes with it.

Even that little privilege to vote is a gift worth stewarding. Everything is worth stewarding if God has put in our care. 

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