Monday’s Eulogy Provides Tuesday’s Election Lesson

Nov 11, 2022 by David Fowler

Monday’s Eulogy Provides Tuesday’s Election Lesson
On Monday, I gave the eulogy for the interment of my 91-year-old father’s mortal remains. Little did I realize that preparations for his eulogy would provide a fresh insight into Tuesday’s election and its outcomes. And, no, thoughts of the eternal did not make elections less important, but more important. Just in a new way.
As I prepared for the eulogy, I thought about the things Jesus said about death that rationalist critics of the Bible might point to as contradictions and flights from logical thinking. 
For example, Jesus told those who wanted to follow Him to let the dead bury the dead. How could the dead bury the dead? Jesus also said that those who believed in Him would live again even if they died, but his next statement was that those who believed in Him would never die.  Which is it, die and live again or never die?
Who can trust the Bible when it holds out such non-sensical statements as true?

The Rationalist “Experts” Think They Know Better

The Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection from the dead, thought they could trip Jesus up over the irrationality of the resurrection of the dead. They tried to do so by applying logic to the requirement in the law of Moses that the brother of a man who died without a child was to marry the deceased’s wife to provide him an heir.  
They asked him whose wife the woman would be after the resurrection of the dead if the deceased had six brothers who, in succession, married the deceased’s wife without having provided an heir. 
Jesus’ response to these learned religious leaders was chilling and damning: They were mistaken because they did “not know[ ] the Scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).

What Rationalistic Thinking by Experts of all stripes Miss

I won’t explain why the Sadducees’ thinking exposed their ignorance about Scripture and God, but the Apostle Paul provided a good general rule that speaks to the limits of mere reason: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19, emphasis added).
In other words, if the Christian is thinking in ways the world thinks is wise but is not thinking first in terms of who God is and what He has done and is doing, he or she may not be thinking rightly, at least not according to Him whose knowledge and wisdom is infinite, which means that God's wisdom and knowledge was not even close to exhausted by the thimble full He used to bring about the intricacies of a cosmos that still baffle scientists. 

Application to My Eulogy

At my father’s eulogy I said I had come to believe there are two kinds of funerals in this world. The first is composed of the dead—those who do not know the Author of Life and are not united in Christ to Him—who bury the dead among them. The second is among the living—those who die but live through union with Jesus Christ in whom death was overcome—and those still living in this temporal realm who are similarly situated. 
Indeed, the dead bury their dead, and those whose “life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) never die; the living know that the one whose mortal coil has been cast off is just changing location and, eventually, will receive a new glorified eternal body. 

Application to the Election

Similarly, I have come to believe there are elections among the dead and among the living.
The dead are those who believe their chief concerns are inflation, the economy, the border, and all those other things pollsters say are the top concerns of voters. Among the dead it is reasonable to believe those are the most important things. The dead elect those among them who also think those are the most important things.
For the living, elections are different because they think differently. It is not that the preceding things are unimportant. They are not oblivious to these issues, and they care about those things for the sake of the neighbor who may be dead. But Matthew records Jesus as saying the living—those who know God as their Heavenly Father—think differently about these things.
The living know that “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the others” (Matthew 6:24). They know that God’s Kingdom is the pearl that makes other considerations pale by way of comparison (Matthew 13:46).
“Therefore,” as Jesus says, they “do not worry about [their] life, what [to] eat or what [to] drink; nor about [their] body, what [they] will put on” (Matthew 6:25). They know that “life [is] more than food and the body more than clothing” (Matthew 6:25).  They know their “heavenly Father” takes care of all creation, and they know they are “of more value” to Him than everything else He created (Matthew 6:26-30). 
So, in troubled and uncertain times like we have, they pray not for the election of more Democrats or Republicans but for more faith. They do not want to be “those of little faith” who doubt that their “heavenly Father knows that [they] need all these things” (Matthew 6:30, 32) and be guilty of thinking a majority Democrats or Republicans in office can ensure their needs are met.
Moreover, when it comes to how to vote, they seek out those candidates, if any, who might be of assistance to their efforts to bring the Kingdom of God to bear “on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, 33). That's what Jesus told them to pray for, right?

Concluding Thoughts—Think Bigger

I concluded my eulogy by noting that God, through Moses, had given this law to His people: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you,” which was Canaan.  
Following the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the command was the same, but the original promise was seen as a mere “shadow” of that which is much bigger: “‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise, ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:2-3).
In other words, with God there is an on-going development, growth, and expansion (Isaiah 9:7) of His kingdom. The living don’t reason themselves into having small thoughts about God and His Kingdom purposes because of what they see around them. They live by faith in the Word of God. They know the Kingdom of God as revealed in and by Christ encompasses more in this life than what happens on a small patch of dirt in the Middle East. 
Moreover, while the Kingdom of God encompasses everything, including politics, it expands by the living doing what the living are supposed to do  wherever God has placed them and passing what God develops through them to their children for their further development. This is how the living honor their fathers and mothers.
With the foregoing in mind, I ask: On Tuesday, were you among the dead looking for a dead person for whom you could vote or were you, like me, among the living and coming to realize that increasingly Election Day is more like “seeking the living among the dead” (Luke 24:5)?
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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