I have never held public office, but I have always been fascinated by those who do. I marvel at the wisdom of some politicians and the sheer stupidity of others but they all must be credited for having the courage to serve. No matter what your persuasion, life in the political arena is not for the faint of heart.
If you have ever considered a life of political involvement, you would do well to glean wisdom from those who have served with excellence. One of the finest examples I can reference is the a man whose life inspired me to start this site his name is William Wilberforce. Time doesn’t permit me to give you a thorough account of his life here, but you would do well to familiarize yourself with this man.
Wilberforce was unique among career politicians in that his motivation for holding public office was to serve the people. He was first and foremost an authentic Christian who knew that his accountability was to God and not just to his constituents. He knew that the real answer to the problems of his time and of all times was found not in the benevolence of government but in the grace of Jesus Christ who died on a cross to free men from slavery to sin. This profoundly affected his approach to the role of public policy in everyday matters.
Wilberforce was kind enough to chronicle his philosophy and approach to public service in his magnum opus A Practical View of Christianity. If you have ever considered running for public office or would like to have a model for holding your elected officials accountable consider the following points Wilberforce raises (I have included the page numbers and paragraph locations):
- One of the best ways to win public opinion for sound policy is to “make goodness fashionable”. – pg. 83, paragraph 1
- Great political victories come by patience and endurance or “by degree”. – pg. 159, paragraph 4
- Choose your battles. – pg. 159, paragraph 5
- Vote your conscience, not your party. – pg. 161, paragraph 2
- Be the conscience of your country. – pg. 163, paragraph 4
- Disappointment and desertion are certainties. – pg. 164, paragraph 4
- Always look for opportunities to share the gospel. – pg. 164, paragraph 4
- Create community for those of like mind and faith. – pg. 183, paragraph 1
- Never compromise integrity for the sake of friendship. – pg. 201, paragraph 3
- All service in victory and defeat is for the glory of God. – pg. 208, paragraph 1
- Representation is always about serving the people. – pg. 253, paragraph 1
I hope that these gems of wisdom will encourage and challenge you. I also hope that they cause you to buy and read Wilberforce, himself. It is an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.