The Presidential Dilemma: Winner Takes All

I admit that I like being the fan of the team that wins the most. Who doesn’t? Except for a few people in the world who like to pick underdogs and cheer them on to be different, most of us feel like winners when our favorite team or player wins, right? When it comes to the election process, our culture, especially the media, who gives us all the information on our favorite past times, values those one top over those on the bottom. That is why the presidential debates only include 2 candidates, the two with the best poll statistics. This is why even though Election Day is not until November 8, the commentator on the first presidential debate says, “One of these 2 will be the next president.” How does he know? The polls are like a cloudy crystal ball revealing the greatest possibilities for the future.

So, whether you think the two “top” performers are the best candidates or not, you feel bound to vote for one or the other. They are the obvious winners, and why would you cheer on anyone else? The crystal ball of public poll has spoken. No one else even has a chance. Maybe so. But let me remind you that before you go to the polls, while millions of Americans are cheering on their favorite team player because they are sure they are the “winners” who will take all, that God may have another perspective.

Look at how the story of King David unfolded. The Lord tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem and find the new king of Israel to replace fallen King Saul. Samuel arrives at the farm of Jesse, a successful sheepherder (shepherd, for short) with 7 striking sons of age. As the young men are lined up, beginning with the eldest brother, Samuel begins the process of choosing. As he comes to the first, tall and strong and evident to every other person in the world, the Lord whispers to Samuel, “He’s not the one to lead my people.” On and on down the line, Samuel hears the same as he looks at the young men. Oh, but something’s wrong. One is missing- no. 8! Where is he? Why has he been forgotten? Why doesn’t he show up in the polls? Jesse embarrassingly reveals that it is the runt David who is out to pasture, serving the family, caring for the sheep. (We know from David’s story that he was also writing psalms for the people of God and developing character that would be strong enough to single-handedly defeat a 9-foot Goliath and passionate enough to plan for a house of worship.) On bringing the boy to Samuel, the Lord exclaimed, “This the one. Rise and anoint him.”

Is there someone serving, someone caring, someone with character, someone forgotten by the polls? You won’t get the answer to that by looking into a crystal ball.