Back to Top

Is Voting a Sacred Task?

Many of us have found it instructive that John Calvin, the theological father for reformed Christians, in the 1559 version of his Institutes of the Christian Religion wrote this about those in civil authority, the civil magistrate: “Wherefore no man can doubt that this calling is, in the sight of God, not only sacred and lawful, but the most sacred, and by far the most honorable, of all stations in mortal life (4.20).” Calvin adds, “With regard to the function of magistrates, the Lord has not only declared that he approves and is pleased with it, but, moreover, has strongly recommended it to us.” In today’s parlance, Calvin is talking about the “politician”.

We are called to cast ballots remembering Jesus

There are certainly major responsibilities on the shoulders of politicians – to do what is pleasing to God. There is also a significant task for us. We are called to cast ballots remembering Jesus and his commandment to love. Jesus said in John 13:34-35. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

One criterion that you, as a voter, could use in choosing candidates is who will most manifest love for everyone – not just for those who look like you, but for all of God’s children. Voters have a sacred task to choose people who you believe are able to show the marks of love most successfully.

Every election is important and sacred

What are the marks of love? First Corinthians 13 answers that question most clearly. In verses 4 through 6, it says, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”

Every election is important and sacred because you are seeking to discover who has been ordained by God to this position. Because of its importance, it is urgent that as many people vote as possible.We need the collective wisdom of all voters.

As we choose magistrates, it is useful to have a voting plan. Here are some thoughts about developing one: 

  • Vote by mail: you can find out if you’re registered to vote and request your ballot at When We All Vote.  

  • If you want to know if your state has early return drop off locations check out this list at the U.S. Vote foundation.  

  • Vote early in person Forty one states have early in person voting options. 

  • Vote in person on election day. There are great early voting options but if you are considering voting in person make sure to confirm your polling location now and plan enough time to vote in case of long lines or other interruptions that might get in the way of your ability to vote on election day. 

  • Look up more specific state by state rules and deadlines here

  • Interfaith Power and Light has a free voter reflection guide for people of faith.

It is not only important that we vote, but that you spend some time making sure that everyone else is able to vote as well. I am thinking of senior citizens, who in this age of Covid, are able to cast a ballot either in person or preferably by mail or other similar options described above. First time voters, like those who have recently become US citizens and those who have just turned 18 might want a mentor. Think of people in your congregation and in your city, who might need some extra help to vote. Organizations like the League of Women Voters and your own political party have “get out the vote” efforts that you might join. 

In voting, as in other tasks like acquiring food and drink and clothing, Matthew 6:33 says, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Striving to seek God’s righteousness drives us to vote and to decide for whom to vote.  Remember, according to Calvin, we are voting for people with God’s highest calling.

Photo by Noah Pederson on Unsplash


The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.