The Meaning of Two Percent

How about some political theology for a Sunday? It’s only slightly deep, but bear with me for a good point.

The hours are fleeting. . . . Plan and work today as if tomorrow depended on it.

In Exodus, God delivers the ten commandments to Moses and the second one commands “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Ex. 20:4 (NIV)

While it is easy to think of that commandment as demanding the exclusion of only physical idols, the Westminster Longer Catechism says that, in addition to graven images, the second commandment forbids “making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever.” WLC 109.

One thing people tend today when today is not going to well is to imagine their future as much brighter. If we are worried about today’s debts, we imagine a future where we have won the lottery. If we are sick, we imagine ourselves healed. We ignore the proverb, “do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Prv. 27:1 (NIV). We turn the future into an idol. Jesus said “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

By now, you are no doubt wondering what this has to do with two percent. To get there, remember The Screwtape Letters. Written by C.S. Lewis, they are a group of letters from the demon Screwtape to a younger demon named Wormwood. Wormwood is trying to lure a man to hell and Screwtape offers advice. The letters give great insight into the condition of man.

In letter 15, Screwtape tells Wormwood, “[T]he Enemy [that is, God] wants men to think of the Future too — just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice and charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present.” TSL, 15.

Screwtape suggests that if man dwells on the future, he will not plan for it, he’ll just expect it. When the future does not arrive, he will be angry with God when, in reality, the man should have prepared for the future today.

How does that get us to two percent? It’s easy.

The race for the Presidency is going to be close. Virtually every campaign expert will tell you that, when a race is within two percentage points in the polls, a grassroots effort is extremely effective. The polls can be wrong within two percentage points — but there must be active work.

Friends, we may have comforting images of George W. Bush re-elected President of the United States. If this race is close though, we can take no comfort in that image. “The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty.” We must begin our grassroots work right now.

If you have not yet begun to volunteer, do so now. If you have not volunteered to work a get out the vote effort, do so now. Worry about today. Are you doing enough today to ensure tomorrow? If you are not, call your local Republican party headquarters and get involved. Don’t have a good one? Call the national folks.

The RNC is looking for people to help in swing states. Get involved.

The hours are fleeting. Do not wake up on November 3, 2004, with President-elect Kerry and wonder what happened. Plan and work today as if tomorrow depended on it.

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Erick Erickson

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1 Comment

  • Great commentary and brilliantly delievered there Erick. And its implications stretches beyond the volunteering for Bush today, but all our actions.

    That and it shows me I REALLY need to get into the works of C.S. Lewis more than I do now…