MELISSA, Texas (BP)–Can I give you some homework? Like many Americans, you live a busy life and seem to be always on the go, taking the kids here and there. I know you seem overwhelmed already, but I want to ask you to do four things in the next week. Will you pray, vote, call and give?
First, please pray. Pray that honest, capable candidates, be they incumbents or challengers, will win their races and take over important political positions. Please pray that our office holders, be they Democrats or Republicans, will seriously and carefully discharge their duties, looking to the Heavenly Father for guidance. Please pray that our political leaders will understand that we as voters demand financial integrity, hard work and civility in their dealings with us and with each other. Please ask God to give our political leaders strength, patience, wisdom and courage.
Second, please go to the ballot box on Tuesday and vote for candidates who share your values. Voter apathy is a terrible problem in America and also exists in Collin County, Texas, where I live. Turnout for our primary elections in March of this year was pathetic. Of 369,493 registered voters in Collin County, 19,768 votes were cast, a 5.3 percent turnout. Overall, of the 12,722,671 registered voters in Texas, there was a 9.2 percent turnout statewide in March.
So, how many voters will go to the polls next Tuesday? We can only hope that it will be more than the 36.2 percent of registered voters who chose to participate in the 2002 gubernatorial elections in Texas. Could the voters surprise us and turn out at a 56.6 percent rate, as they did in the 2004 presidential election? I doubt it, but one can hope that voter apathy will wane and involvement among our citizens will increase. Voter apathy turns into voter participation when you vote and when you encourage your neighbors and friends to vote. Remember, each vote really does count.
Third, I am asking you to call on the newly elected political leaders to offer them your support and encouragement. Find their e-mail addresses or phone numbers and take the time to share your views. If they are from your favorite political party, encourage them. If they are not from your party, encourage them. Our communities, our state and our nation need leaders who lead and citizens who encourage. Politics often is a hard, thankless task and I know that our local leaders could use some more encouragement from their constituents. I don’t want you to sacrifice your values or ignore important projects, I just want you to be kind and uplifting to our local elected officials.
Finally, I am asking you to give. Give your time, talents and financial resources to the causes in which you believe. Our churches and local charities want and need your gifts to make them successful. You can always give financial gifts, but I encourage you also to give your time. Time is a currency as valuable, if not more so, than money. There are many wonderful churches and non-profits who are worthy of your generous donations. Do your homework, evaluate their mission statements and core values, then give. Not only can you be a blessing to others when you give, but you will be blessed by being the giver.
I am asking for your help in making America a place that God will bless. Let’s ask Him to do His work and let’s do ours. Will you do your homework this week? Will you pray, vote, call and give?
Trey Graham is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas (www.firstmelissa.com) and author of “Lessons for the Journey” and “Light for the Journey.” He can be reached at [email protected] “Faith Walk with Trey Graham” can be heard at 8:30 p.m. weeknights on The Word 100.7 FM in Dallas/Fort Worth.