We posted on Aug. 11 about how leaders in the Bible often receive guidance from God in their work of government and civic leadership. Our conclusion is that God cares deeply about government, and that people who work in government–including candidates–should look to God for guidance in their work.
That’s a general answer, but the question that moderator Megyn Kelly asked the candidates was actually a bit more specific: “I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.” She wasn’t asking whether God guides government workers, but what specifically any of the candidates thinks God has told them to do if they are elected.
How would God give the kind of specific direction this question is asking about? One possibility is that God would tell a candidate directly and concretely what he wants the candidate to do. This happens in the Bible, for example when God told Moses and Aaron exactly what he wanted them to say to Pharaoh (Exodus 6:1-11). Presumably God could speak to a candidate today in more or less the same fashion. But even in the Bible this is a rare occurrence. There are many more people who think that God has commanded them to do something than there are people to whom God has actually given such a command. So most of the people who say God has told them what to do are wrong, and not only that, dangerous. The abolitionist John Brown comes to mind. He was right about God’s wanting to abolishing slavery. But wrong that God told him to attack the US Army at Harper’s Ferry and murder 5 civilians who supported slavery.Similarly, a candidate who says something like, “God told me to ______, and that’s what I’m going to do if I’m elected,” sounds dangerous.
So if God rarely gives direct, specific commands to people, then how does he guide government workers and candidates? It turns out that the way God calls and guides people into jobs and occupations can also be the way he guides people to know what to do once they have jobs and occupations, including government jobs and occupations. In our study of calling in the Bible, we found three ways to discover the guidance God is giving you in your work:
- Figure out what is needed to make the world more like God wants it to be. The Bible gives lots of pictures of what God wants for his world–peace, health, prosperity for all people, beauty, fair play, justice, safety, and community come immediately to mind. What can you do in your position to make the world more like that?
- Employ the talents, skills, abilities and gifts God has given you. What are you capable of doing with particular excellence and effectiveness?
- Pay attention to the deepest, truest desires of your heart. Do you have a passion for justice? Do you yearn for an end to poverty. Do you delight in organizing people and systems? How can your true desires lead you to serve others?
Wouldn’t it be great to hear a candidate say something like, “From what I can see from my time with God, I think what the world needs most is _____. Or, “I think God’s gift has given me the ability to lead the US in doing ______”. Or “The reason I’m running for president is my passion for _____, and if people think it would be good to have a president with that passion right now, I hope they’ll think of voting for me.”