Photo from flickr by sashamd (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Partisan politics and biblical stewardship just don’t mix

"Biblical stewardship transcends catchphrases and political rhetoric"

Call me crazy, but I don’t like partisan politics. In reality, I believe few Canadians are enamoured by the election-fueled ads that tear down people and parties. That behaviour flies in the face of how we were raised, right? Right! But I’m told those ads “work” and of course that means all the parties will continue to use them.

Canada’s democratic system may be the best there is, but we would be wise to take heed of its inherent weaknesses.

Since the dawn of democracies, politicians have strategized how to win elections. That’s the nature of the beast. But is there a better way? Pointing fingers straight at the politicians would be easy, but it is you and I who are the issue. We vote for politicians who make promises we like! Many would argue this is exactly the way it should be. And they would be right if each of us had a well-balanced sea-to-sea-to-sea view of Canada and a prophet’s perspective of the future.

But that’s not who we are. We are selfish. We are short-term in our outlook. We see everything from our own very limited vantage point. So politicians of all stripes play the cards we’ve dealt them. They figure out which demographic groups are most likely to vote for them and then do everything possible to gain their favour. And we end up with love/hate election campaigns. Let me suggest a different perspective, one that focuses on stewardship.

When I was a young lad, “stewardship” meant giving a tenth of my income to charity. Eventually I learned God was interested in everything I earned and owned, not just 10 per cent. Today I realize that my earlier understanding of stewardship was short-sighted and “me oriented,” coincidentally also characteristic of most voters.

I think the biblical definition of stewardship includes engaging with our politicians long before an election. Let them know that you care about the environment—and give them concrete examples of how you have changed your personal lifestyle to align with your beliefs. Tell them that you care about the future—and how you have adjusted your own giving, spending and saving to improve the odds that the treasuries of our country will be sustainable.

We shouldn’t need buzzwords like “climate change” and “tax savings” to motivate us. A proper understanding of stewardship transcends catchphrases and political rhetoric. It’s the opposite of “partisan, polarized and selfish” and applies to each of us personally. Thinking it’s only the politicians who need to be good stewards is believing a lie.

We would do well to learn from real-world examples of politics gone bad. Greece paying the piper after many decades of politicians making promises the country could not afford or attain is one. Given Canada’s age demographics, we need to become better stewards of our country and treasury. Think of the Golden Rule in terms of your kids and grandkids. That sure puts things in a different light, doesn’t it?

Start the next election campaign on October 20, by talking “stewardship” with your elected representatives.

Henry Friesen is a chartered accountant near Winnipeg who is concerned for his young grandchildren.

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About the author


Henry Friesen is a chartered accountant who lives in a small town near Winnipeg, Manitoba.

About the author