Focus on Faith

Tim Schroeder is a pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna. This is a regular column in Okanagan Weekend.

Now what? The election has come and gone. Now what?

Quebec voted one way, Central Canada another and much of the West another way still. Now what?

Some of us voted for candidates who won, other’s candidates lost. What happens when grown adults who believe in democracy don’t get their way? What happens when they do?

The test of Canadian maturity has rarely been more obvious. Divisions along geographic and party lines have rarely been deeper and campaigns run by leaders attacking one another have rarely been more disappointing. Now what?

Now is the time for mature Canadians to stand up and be counted.In particular, it is the time for people of faith to act out what we profess to believe. St. Paul envisioned this scenario when he urged his readers to pray and be thankful for those in positions of leadership because their good leadership results in peaceful, quiet lives for everyone. If our leaders do well, we all win!

From time to time it seems obvious that some leaders are not appropriate for the position of power they occupy. They are greedy, arrogant, deceitful and in it only for their own good.

In those cases it seems prudent for all mature citizens to band together and remove such a person from office, in keeping with the laws of the land.

More often, however, leaders are well-intentioned and for the most part accomplish much good. They make a few errors along the way not unlike errors we all make in our own positions.

Unfortunately, in an antagonistic climate such as exists in Canada today, rather than focusing on correcting errors and helping leaders succeed, it seems to be our modus operandi to focus on the mistakes and tear our leaders down to the point that the only work done in government is attack and defense of each other’s mistakes.

When I assumed my position of leadership at Trinity in Kelowna, I was taken for lunch by one of our lay leaders, Al Stober, who’s life we celebrated this week.

Al looked me in the eye and said, “Schroeder, I just want you to know that any church has the power to destroy any pastor.”

I quivered, not knowing what was coming next. He continued, “All we need to do to destroy anyone is to focus on their weaknesses rather than their strengths.”

Then he delivered the punch-line.

He said, “I promise that in our church we won’t do that. We’ll focus on your strengths and surround you with help in your areas of weakness.”

That lunch was one of the most inspiring and life-changing conversations of my life and to this day the people I’m involved with have kept that promise.

What would happen if we treated our mayor like that? How about our premier, our prime minister, our kids’ teachers and principals? The police officers who keep us safe?

Notice he did not say we’ll ignore your weaknesses. He said, “We’ll surround you with help.”

We have a divided Canada today. There are numerous problems and schisms run deep. Now what? Now is the time for mature Canadians to rise to the occasion, to work together and continue to make this the best place in the world to live.