Tribute to Preston Manning

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

After 14 years in political office, and after having originally formed the grass-roots movement that brought the Reform Party of Canada to official opposition status, Preston Manning is calling it quits. He is leaving the Canadian Alliance — formerly called the “Reform” party under his leadership, but which is now headed by Stockwell Day, the slightly younger, and apparently more charismatic leader who took over Mr. Manning’s position several months ago during a leadership convention.

Now I would imagine that Mr. Manning came to the decision that he did not because he lost the leadership race against Mr. Day several months back. But rather, I would imagine that the real reason Mr. Manning is calling it quits is because, as a child of God and one who seeks to be sensitive to God’s voice and calling, he senses that God has “released” him from this obligation of being part of the party that he helped to form. In other words, Mr. Manning, in God’s eyes, has been “released” from his obligations. It’s time to move on. God needs him somewhere else.

May the Lord bless Mr. Manning in his future endeavours, as he has clearly been doing in his past ones. And thank God that Mr. Manning places his relationship with Jesus Christ at the very front of his life, where it belongs. For when he lost the leadership race several months back, I clearly remember him saying, first of all — not last of all — words to the effect, “First of all, I would like to thank my God and Savior Jesus Christ for making me his child.” Now that is a pretty bold statement for a man “center stage” in politics to make! But Mr. Manning made it, without hesitation, before all the cameras to see and hear! That was when the whole country was watching! He was not ashamed.

True to God’s word, Jesus will confess him before his Father who is in heaven — Mr. Manning can be sure about that. For the Lord Jesus Christ said in his word, the Bible, the following words which we would all do well to remember and meditate upon:

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

The second part is equally important:

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)

Mr. Manning was a wise politician. He waited until the spotlight was beautifully focused on him, and then made his first and foremost declaration for all to see — the cameras could not be turned off at this point, because it was his concession speech that he was making, and it had to be live. Mr. Manning knew what he was doing and he knew what God had called him to do! This was not a time to give glory to man, or to wallow in one’s self pity. It was time to stand up and be counted, like the man he was called to be. It was time to let the whole world see just exactly where Mr. Manning stood with regards to the most important thing in his whole life:

“First of all, I would like to thank my God and Savior Jesus Christ for making me his child.” (paraphrase)

Yes, Mr. Manning, Jesus will gladly confess your name before his Father who is in heaven, because you have freely confessed him before men and women, without shame!

Can the same be said for every one of us? I should hope so! I should hope that, when the time comes to confess Christ before others, that we take opportunity to do so.

Mr. Manning chose the “right” moment to make his confession. I am not saying that every moment is the right moment. Quoting Jesus, “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16b) This means that we sometimes need to be silent. Depending on the situation in which we are faced, we may need to be “very” silent. But there will be a time — and in my own estimation at least one time every day — when we can freely confess Christ before others. That may be at the gas station, or in line at a supermarket, or even to a telemarketer on the telephone (as I like to do), but there will be a time in which we can easily do that, yes, and without fear of persecution, either (just get a little bold, that’s all — you can do it!). All it takes is a little sensitivity to God’s voice.

How many people have you confessed Christ to today? This week? This month? May the Lord give you the unction and the courage to do so today, and may you and I both not be found to be lacking in this crucial respect.

I leave you with the words of Jesus to meditate on. May the Lord bless you as you do!

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)