If you’re an American, you’re probably very familiar with the words:
” I am ________, candidate for __________, and I approve this message.”
This type of statement is required in political ads in the US because of a law enacted to combat anonymous negative political ads from flooding the airwaves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_by_Your_Ad_provision
These days, campaigns just resort to propaganda, fake news, rumor and speculation they feed into the social media machine in order to stir people up into a frenzy instead — so maybe we need something similar to curb this new ugly underbelly of political wrangling.
But this gets me thinking about the messages that we each “approve” every day via our various social media interactions. Every time that we like, share, comment and post — we are endorsing/approving a message. We are putting something out there to show people who we are — or at least who we want people to hear/see from us.
But I wonder what we are a “candidate for _______”? If we look at our social media presence, is it a good representation of a “good neighbor”, of a “good and faithful servant), of a “humble ambassador of Christ Jesus”? But even greater than that, is our curated social media presence a false and fake political ad that we put up as a front to garner likes, while our heart and lives are far from living up to the shiny promises of our campaign slogans?
For those who call themselves Christians, we should be living as a candidate for heaven, not because others get to “vote is in” (because they don’t), but because they need to see that all this “Christian religion stuff” isn’t just poppycock and nonsense like most political promises and candidates prove themselves to be. They need to see the reality of “Christ in us” in those where the Holy Spirit of God dwells so they might see, taste, touch, smell and hear that God is good for themselves. We are the candidates for “good and faithful servant” who are to take this gift of God’s abiding presence into the world for it to be multiplied in others.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matthew 25:14-30 NLT
I am Harold “Hop” Ballinger, a candidate for good and faithful servant, and I approve this message.