The state of Pennsylvania is once again in the midst of reforms centering on gifts given to lawmakers, this time following a recent sting operation in which four Philadelphia lawmakers were allegedly caught on tape accepting gifts and cash, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The debate has arisen since State Attorney General Kathleen Kane nixed the investigation shortly before prosecution, claiming a far-too-generous deal was cut with the informant, Tyron B. Ali.
While the issue of whether or not politicians should accept gifts from lobbyists and constituents can often be difficult to judge, one thing should be clear to Christians: positions of power and leadership are not to be used for the purpose of personal gain.
It would do us great benefit to consider the advice of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, regarding the choosing of leaders. In Exodus 18:21 Jethro says, “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”
One can assume that accepting bribes of any kind is to be considered “dishonest gain,” and is therefore wrong for the believer. But there is another side to this issue as well. Why do we seek leadership in the first place, and what will we do with our power?
The Bible paints a vivid portrait of what the Godly leader should look like, and this image has no marks of pride or selfish intent. Matthew 20:26 says, “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” Christians can show the love of Christ — the same Christ who washed his disciples’ feet — in their positions of leadership.
Leaders take many different forms. In our college setting, officers in the University Business Association or SLC fit the description, as do RA’s and residence hall counselors. Some leaders have been appointed for us, and we have voted for others.
Not all leaders must have an official title, either; certain students simply have more influence because of their personalities or talents. Whatever the case may be, God’s call is the same, and that is that godly leaders focus not on themselves, but on loving and discipling others.
Another focus of Christian leadership should be that a leader specifically serves God, not men. Paul explains in Galatians 1:10: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
And Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
While Pennsylvania is trying to clean up the unethical practices of its politicians (and it’s not the only state), students can strive to practice biblical leadership immediately. Society officers, room leaders and upperclassmen alike can imitate our perfect leader, Jesus Christ, right now.