The tension has been building for many years. The rhetoric has gradually been increasing after each of the last several local and national elections. But at the start of 2016, we began to hear from our elected MPs on what they believed was best for Great Britain as a referendum vote was called for by the Prime Minister. 23rd June 2016. The question…do we stay or do we go?
As I reflect on the TV, radio, and print interviews from those aligning themselves with the “in” and “out” campaigns, it is clear that the question isn’t as simple as “in?” or “out?”. There are complex details to be considered. There are financial, social, and political risks to weigh. As we watch, listen, and read…we will likely be swayed one way or another, by various voices of each campaign.
Whatever our decision…our vote…there will be implications…both positive and negative. We will be looking to our elected officials for an explanation of what is best for our country. “Follow me,” they will say. “We will be better off,” they will claim. In the midst of competing voices…how do we know who to trust…when they are all saying, “follow me!”?
Now, just in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to tell you which way to vote! That is something each individual Christian must prayerfully wrestle with for themselves. But as I have reflected on this historic occasion that we in Britain find ourselves in, I am drawn to a brief passage in the Gospel of Mark.
“And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him.” – Mark 2:14 (ESV)
I love the account of Jesus’s calling Levi to “follow me,” and the way in which he responds. I’m overwhelmed by Levi’s response to Jesus’s calling. It takes me back to the moment when I responded to Jesus’s calling nearly 25 years ago as a lost and confused young man.
Those who know me well know that I am one who appreciates detail. On the surface…this verse in Mark is not detailed. It’s very black and white. It’s this simplicity that challenges me, which is why I’ve come to appreciate the brevity of the passage. I have a propensity to over-analyse things. My tendency is to always take the why, what, where, and how approach. This isn’t a bad thing…but it has been known to create friction in the faith and trust side of me.
My personality hasn’t changed over the years. But many years ago, Jesus’s authority…proven by His miracles…was made clear to me. Testimony of these miracles were written in the Gospel accounts, but also in the lives of those who shared the Good News with me. There was a clear moment when I knew Jesus was the One I could trust…the One with authority. I was compelled to surrender my will, respond in faith, and follow Him…proclaiming that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour…just like Levi…just like you.
And that call to follow Jesus is a daily call. A call to die to self and to live for Christ (Philippians 1:21), a call to deny self (Luke 9:23) and follow the Lord. As we follow and look to Jesus, we become more conformed to His image. It is in this process of discipleship that Jesus will help to shape our thinking…mould our will and change our heart. As we follow Jesus, we can be confident in our vote on Europe, whatever our persuasion may be.
So, for those of us in the United Kingdom who will be making a voting decision on the 23rd of June, and even for those in Ireland or mainland Europe who aren’t voting in this referendum, but will for future issues or leadership…how do we make up our mind? Follow the One who can be trusted…set your heart on Him…and allow Him to lead, shape, and direct your path.
Copyright © 2016 by Scott Bean. All rights reserved worldwide.