Today is a special day—an historic day. While I did not vote for Barak Obama, I too celebrate our nation, the peaceful transition of power, and the fact that he is our first African American president. There are many things I admire about him. There are some things that deeply worry me as well. But to join in the celebration, here are three gifts I will give to our new president.
1. I will pray for him regularly and remind others to pray for him. In 1 Timothy 2.1-2, Scripture says “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Christians are commanded to pray for our leaders. I will pray for wisdom as he faces the huge challenges that lay ahead. I will pray for protection for him and his family. I will pray for the influencers around him. I will pray that he lead in a way that promotes both justice and righteousness as he shapes the laws and policies of our nation. I will pray that that he stay humble and fear the Lord. I will pray that God will speak to him regularly through his Word. I take the man’s profession of faith as genuine. Like President Bush, I believe that it is a faith that needs to be more fully informed. As a Christian, I will pray that God’s Holy Spirit convict him regularly.
Will you pray for him? There is a great website called the Presidential Prayer Team Website that can guide you in your prayers. You can access it at www.presidentialprayerteam.org.
2. A second gift I will offer is respect. I will honor him because of the office he holds, even when I disagree with some of his positions. I will try to avoid getting swept away in anything comparable to what some have called BDS or CDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) or (Clinton Derangement Syndrome)—a deeply cynical frame of mind which is always distrustful and disrespectful. I will teach my children to respect the office of president. I believe that Romans 13 calls me to this stance. It says the authorities that exist have been established by God (Romans 13.1). As such he is God’s servant to whom respect and honor are due. (Romans 13.4,7).
3 A third gift I will give to our new president is faithful Christian critique. I believe that my position as pastor and preacher calls for this. I will give this in order to help other Christians think more Christianly. I will do it so that we stay attuned to God’s Word. The expectations we are placing on this man are enormous. The media has been giving him iconic- like treatment. In some respect the president-elect and his team are setting these high expectations themselves by deliberately comparing him to Abraham Lincoln before he has even entered office. I will remind people who look to him for more than he can deliver to, as Psalm 146.3 says, “not put their trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.” Instead I will point them to put their hope in the Lord and his anointed—Jesus Christ. I will remind people that our deepest need is not for a political solution but for the gospel. I will remind them that one of the great dangers of a large and growing state is that it tends to become intrusive in many ways. The bigger it gets the more god-like it becomes and the more it takes away our freedoms—including religious freedom. The government of Romans 13 which stands as God’s servant, can become the tyrannous government of Revelation 18 which stands as God’s enemy. I will remind them that the ruler of our land is subject and accountable to the King who rules over the nations. Human presidents and kings are to be God’s vice regents, showing forth God’s rule in the world.
In some respects, I do not think I spoke clearly enough about these things during the last eight years. So I will try to be more faithful in the days ahead. My ultimate allegiance is not to a party or a president but to the Kingdom of God.
These are my three inauguration Day gifts to the 44th President of these United States. What are you bringing to the party?