As always, last night’s election had repurcussions that stretched far beyond the borders of the United States. One of the most farcical (except it really happened!) was when a massive surge in internet traffic crashed the website for Canada’s immigration department. But before writing them all off as liberals, unpatriotic and a good riddance, Trump voters have to make an admission too. Many of them made the same joke.
And in the aftermath of an outcome very few people expected; standing in front of four years of very much uncharted waters, we might do well to think about that joke again. A massive GOP victory notwithstanding, this election has left things very messy in our republic. The threat of moving to Canada, Mexico or some other such place may reemerge sooner than any of us think.
And I’m going to assert that you sbouldn’t let yourself say it. It’s not only because I already live abroad myself. Nor is it just because it’s not really true at all—I know lots of people who make the joke and no one who has any actual likelihood of doing it.
I think you shouldn’t say it for a much more basic reason. We ought to recognize that everywhere the fundamental realities are the same. It’s something we should have known from reading our Bibles anyway—all governments are corrupt, every nation is wicked, and global humanity eagerly resists the righteous restraints of our God. Moving to another country won’t get you any further from that reality so long as you still live on the same perverse ball of rock.
Which takes me to the most core reason of all. It’s time that all of us learn to think less like we own our country and more like missionaries. Fundamental to the gospel message and calling is that we have a higher basis for decisions about life than how comfortable our setting is. A follower of the Great Commission confesses that there is something more important than GDP per capita and the way the bathrooms are set up. Christ followers don’t just survey the options to pick the easiest environment surrounded by Christians so they can settle in and live out their days in ease. That’s the point of Jesus’ command to go. Jesus’ disciples will go anywhere—easy or hard, so long as it’s the place their Master sent them to share the grand message.
Because Jesus did not put us on this earth to establish Mayberry or to pine for its return. Two thousand years before any of this happened we were sent into a hostile world with a transforming message. I hope that you live and work where you do because you believe Jesus called you there. If so, you exist to speak for Him there. His calling, not the cost of insurance or the configuration of locker rooms, dictates your context.
And might we accidentally be giving away a little truth when we threaten to leave? If our new setting becomes a bit more challenging or even hostile, the thought of seeking out greener pastures might belie our underlying priorities. Why have we been living where we were? Why have we done what we were doing? The fundamental concern of a Christ follower ought to be more basic. Has God’s calling on your place to serve changed with the person in the Oval Office?
If not, may I call you to join me in a much grander calling? View your setting not as a search for the easiest path or the one most like the America you want. You exist to serve your King. If He has called you there, fill up your calling. Serve Him well.
Donald Trump is your president. Don’t move to Canada, Mexico or the Philippines unless God has called you there. Walk out into your neighborhood and do what we always said we were doing. It’s your mission field. Now work to see it transformed by the power of God’s truth.