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1458 DAYS TO VOTE BY LISA SAMSON


1,458 Days to Vote by Lisa Samson
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Mon October 20,2008
At the outset of this note, I just want to say “Thank you” to all the people who serve at crisis pregnancy centers, at the soup kitchen, at the assisted living home, in our prisons, the people who “expend themselves on behalf of the poor” (poor can have many definitions) as the prophet Isaiah called you in the 58th chapter of Isaiah. And Bravo to those who are fiscally responsible in their lives, who haven’t fallen pray to the lie that more stuff makes you happy. You are the living proof of what I am about to say, and I, for one, want to applaud you for taking so many of Christ’s teachings and lifting them off the pages of sacred scripture and girding your feet with them.

Yesterday, at the fellowship of our intentional Christian community, our guest speaker talked about voting and faith. I came away knowing how blessed we are to live in a country where we have a say in who becomes our elected officials. One statement however, struck me and stayed with me all evening. “You know, you don’t just have one day to vote. You can vote for the betterment of your country and your community every day.”

So I pulled up the calculator here on the desktop and figured out, counting a leap year, that gives us 1,458 other days of the year to vote for what we believe in. It’s a little more costly in terms of time and effort than stepping into the voting booth, but by a living vote when we do step in, we’ll know that we truly are part of the overall cure. When we rely on our elected officials to take on the full responsibility of issues that mean so much to us, of course we’re going to view that one day in 1,458 as our only opportunity to make change. May I be so bold as to say that if that is the sum-and-substance of our activities as citizens, we may not love our nation, our community, as much as we think?
So . . . let’s get out the vote! The living vote!

Vote on behalf of others:

Do you care for unborn babies? Vote once a week at least by helping out at the local crisis pregnancy center, or tutoring girls who need to know they’re worth so much more than they’ve ever been told, that their lives can be filled with purpose and meaning. Get involved in the life of boys who’ve never been taught how to respect the bodies of women, or their own for that matter. Volunteer at a home for unwed mothers. Want to vote pro-life every day?Invite a woman in a crisis pregnancy into the safety of your home. Foster parent. Adopt. The lost two options, however, should be considered with great prayer and a true calling from the belief God wants you to build your family in this manner and you are prepared to give your all.

Do you care about the poor? Why not volunteer at your local mission or center? Tutoring, again, is such a wonderful way to help the younger generation. Can you organize a summer lunch program? A friend of mine organized such a program in his community. Come in for reading help—get a lunch! This next year, the amount of children they will serve not only physically, but intellectually, will greatly increase. Find out how to help your local food pantry. They always need help organizing their food. Plug yourself into a church in a marginalized area, even if you have to go Sunday night. Find a refugee family to adopt when they first arrive. (This can be a lot of fun too.)

Is this war important to you? Here’s an idea, no matter what side of the spectrum you find yourself. Visit your local veterans’ hospital. There are people who’ve been in there for many years, disabled and forgotten. See how you can brighten their lives. Also, we have more wounded in this war, due to medical advances. How can we encourage them, help keep them going, be there for them as they try to assimilate into normal life, help them during the depression that sometimes results?

Vote for your own betterment:

The economy? Wow. I’m not too hip on all the ramifications of this, but how about working to pay down your debt? How about starting a supper co-op with friends to lower your food bills? How about getting to know our neighbors better? We may need them, and if they need us, as Jesus-followers, we might be in better financial straits to help them out if we learn how to say no to clothing we don’t need, trips we can’t afford, cars that aren’t exactly practical, and eating out because we just don’t feel like cooking. The Bible clearly speaks about debt. Let’s vote against spiraling debt by doing it at home first. Put yourself on a weekly budget. We’re going cash only for those expenditures and my goodness, does it make you think about those dollars flying out of the wallet!

Taxes? Pay them anyway. Jesus told us to. Don’t cheat on them anymore. (Blech. I know, none of us enjoy paying them. Just wanted to recognize that.) But please, whatever you do, don’t think of paying your taxes as permission not to help anyone. The last thing followers of Jesus need to do is to rely on the government to do their works of righteousness for them.

Energy policy? Turn your heat back and put on a sweater. This will really help with economy around your house too. Save gasoline by combining trips. There’s a zillion ways to do this, so I don’t want to insult your intelligence by going on and on. You’re smart. You know what to do! A lot of people pooh-pooh this, but folks, not only is it better for the environment, but you can really save money and be better stewards of the financial blessings God has given you.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can vote every day. And as always, prayer is the best vote we can give, but I’ve noticed something, God seems more inclined to answer our prayers when we’re willing to do what we can to help.

PS: a great place to find volunteer opportunities is www.volunteermatch.org. Just plug in your zip code.

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