Ready to Serve
By: T.M. Moore|Published: April 17, 2009 10:59 AM
Caesar's Due, Part 6
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.” (Daniel 1:8,9)
The “new order of the ages” which the American political experiment represents is based on the idea of a people banded together by political, economic, cultural, and even spiritual ties for the sake of advancing individual opportunity and the common weal. Ours was never intended to be a government by aristocrats only, much less by a divine right monarch; rather, the American Constitution declares from the first words that it is a people’s document for a people’s republic and, as such, must be administered and preserved by the very people whose lives it orders.
“We the people” therefore must be ready, as the opportunity arises, to serve in the work of governing our neighbors and ourselves. There is no “ruling class” from which to fill the ranks of government from the local to the federal levels. That duty falls to qualified citizens who are burdened by the needs of the larger community and willing to engage the political process in public service.
This, of course, includes the followers of Jesus Christ. Christians are not exempt from the duty and privilege of serving in government. Every legitimate vocation is open to the followers of Christ, and this includes working in government. Believers must be ready like any other citizen to fulfill their civic duty and serve in whatever roles or opportunities the political process and work of government might require or afford.
This begins, of course, with being an informed citizen and faithfully attending to our duty to vote, as well as, when called upon, to serve on a jury of our peers. If we do not fulfill these most fundamental responsibilities, we fail in our civic duty as stewards of the common weal. Moreover, the door to additional areas of service will most likely be closed to any aspirants who will not fulfill these basic obligations.
But in whatever arena or level of government or politics we may be inclined to serve our fellow citizens, believers must be careful to fulfill their callings in a way that honors God. As believers ponder entering the arena of politics and government, to fulfill in part what they owe to Caesar, they would do well to consider the example of Daniel and to follow in the footsteps of this great servant of God.
From Daniel we can learn eight essential principles for serving God in the realm of politics and government—principles that will allow us, when called upon, to fulfill this part of Caesar’s due in a manner consistent with our biblical worldview.
This commitment should be taken consciously before God and communicated to other believers who will be able to support the aspirant to public office in prayer and with encouragement and counsel.
COURAGE IN CRISIS
This is not to say that Christians in public service must preach their way into leadership. It is enough if we recommend actions consistent with the biblical worldview and lead the way to making them work.
A good example of this is the faith-based initiative movement that has been gathering momentum for a couple of decades. Getting churches and religious groups more involved in mitigating certain social crises is a biblical idea; the courage of those who have promoted faith-based initiatives is in being willing to call on government to help in such efforts without intruding on the religious values of those ministries to whose aid they come. Another example is the work of Justice Fellowship in promoting biblical justice in prisons and in the larger community.
Christians in public service should be alert to such opportunities and seek ways of engaging their colleagues in taking actions consistent with a Biblical worldview, making sure that all who are involved are given proper credit for their contribution, and without using every such situation as a religious soapbox. More opportunities will come the way of those who make the most of even the smallest that God drops in their laps.
EXCELLENCE IN ALL THINGS
Daniel provides an excellent example for believers thinking about entering into public service as part of what they owe to the government for which we are all ultimately responsible. By studying carefully and meditating at length on Daniel’s career, believers in public service might become better fitted to serve the needs of Caesar and to bring honor and glory to God in that crucial arena.
T. M. Moore is dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. Sign up at his website to receive his daily email devotional Crosfigell, reflections on Scripture and the Celtic Christian tradition, or sign up at WilberforceProject.com to receive his daily study, ViewPoint, studies in Christian worldview living. T. M. and his wife and editor, Susie, make their home in Hamilton, Va.