May 19, 2019 • Life for Leaders
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
There are certain things we’re told that you should not talk about publicly, some topics that should be left to the realm of private beliefs and ideals. We are told that talking about such things can lead to arguments and tense situations. These subjects include politics and religion. If you live long enough you will inevitably incur arguments, sensitive topics, and tense situations, even without the help of discussions on politics or religion.
There was a time when I adhered to this notion—whether out of fear or exhaustion, I’m not sure. Yet one day I found myself sitting at the intersection of both hot-button topics. I was a Christian who was called to the realm of government, and to engage in politics; or in other terms I was a politically astute individual who believed my faith should shape my world view and my engagement in my professional life.
I am proud to say that, due to God’s grace and faithfulness, I am still that person. In fact, I would say that my journey as one called to the realm of government has strengthened my resolve to move forward in this work as a believer who is practicing good stewardship over the earth that belongs to God.
When I look at the scriptures I resonate with the narratives of Esther, the intercessor and advocate who saved her people from extinction; Joseph, the brilliant economic strategist that saved a world in famine; and Daniel, the advisor to numerous kings, who functioned as a vice president in Babylon. These narratives are an inspiration to me and serve as broad templates as I navigate through the realm of governance.
I am not the only Daniel of this generation. There are countless other Daniels, Esthers, Josephs, and even Davids across the globe, people who are appointed to the realm of government as part of their function in our shared calling to the ministry of reconciliation. Some people’s function leads them into the streets as advocates and activists linking arms with the marginalized to speak truth to power. Others were given brilliant legal minds or graced with strategic insight to provide solutions to many of the problems that confront our communities, nations, and world. God is not bound to a political party, a national boundary, or even a specific ethnicity. As God, he transcends all things. Therefore, the question is not whether we should publicly speak about politics and faith, nor whether as Christians we should choose a certain political ideology or faction. The question is: what will you do with the functionality that you’ve been given?
As ministers of reconciliation our shared goal must be to use these gifts for the common good. After all, this is why God gave you these gifts and the permission to function where you do. Consider the last part of our scripture: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7 NIV). None of us are innately gifted enough, nor clever enough to have chosen the skill sets or influence that we have. All these things were given strategically by God and are to be used for God’s glory, not our own personal benefit. This includes our time, our finances, our talents, and our professional endeavors. So instead of second guessing your journey or feeling shame due to the messy nature of politics and government, you should own your function and use it as your tool for reconciliation.
God, today I pray for those called to the realm of government.
Thank you for the passion, intellect, and solutions that you have given them. Lord, I pray that you grant them the Spirit of wisdom as they face tough decisions. Give them a settling peace to know that they are in the right place, and that you are there for them.
You said in your Word that the government would be on Jesus’s shoulders.
Teach us how to operate in that reality, as we are the body of Christ.
Give them influence and insight, and let it all be for your glory, God.
In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.