By Bret Bernhardt
It’s easy to feel as if you are standing still or even stuck in your present circumstances. This applies to your life, both on the job and off. Everyone who has worked on the Hill has had these feelings from time to time.
Oswald Chambers, in his daily devotional, “My Utmost for His Highest,” hits the nail on the head on this subject with his July 28 reading.
Titled “God’s Purpose or Mine,” Chambers aptly describes how the Lord views progress and success in our lives. In short, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.
A quick plug for Chambers’ daily devotional – it’s great for someone working on the Hill because time always seems in short supply. It’s arranged by day, short and to the point, but packed full of provocative ideas and meaning.
Written over 100 years ago, it’s still, and possibly even more relevant now than ever. It’s something you can do over lunch once a week with someone else on your staff or in another office.
There’s no need for advance reading and you can each read aloud a portion of the one-page devotion, which helps it sink in. Follow the reading with a discussion and prayer.
Now, back to his topic for today. The Hill is a perfect place to see how God works in what appears to be a meandering path in life. That’s because it is a dynamic environment.
“What may seem to you as waiting for the big break is actually God’s purpose for you.”
People are always on the move. And it’s easy to get caught up in the movement for the sake of movement rather than for God’s will for you at that particular time.
What may seem to you as waiting for the big break is actually God’s purpose for you.
Let’s say you’ve taken an entry level position like a staff assistant and you did so because that’s the way to get to the position you really want. Eventually that will lead to being a Legislative Correspondent, then a Legislative Assistant, Legislative Director, Chief of Staff, and so forth.
However, the Lord may be saying to you, stay put for a while so I can teach you a few things. This is a recurring theme in the scriptures — God begins His divine purpose in someone by putting them in what looks like a holding pattern.
Moses spent years in the desert before delivering his people. Joseph seemed lost for years in jail for something he didn’t doAnd Jesus’s public ministry was a relatively short portion of his life. In the same way he’s preparing you for what’s next.
An important lesson for us to learn is that of being faithful in the small stuff. This is typically what we deal with in times of waiting. But it is foundational to equipping us for the Lord’s purpose.
As a manager, I always evaluated a staffer based on the quality of the work in their present job because it almost always indicated the quality of work in a higher position.
The biblical principle here is found in Luke 16:10 where the Lord tells us: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
“An important lesson for us to learn is that of being faithful in the small stuff.”
You will only be as good as a Legislative Assistant as you were as a Legislative Correspondent, and so forth.
Ask yourself, am I doing the best possible job in my current position and do I have a sense of peace and contentment? Or am I simply trying to get from point A to point B?
There is a point when we need to move on, but that requires being faithful in these times of waiting.
If we do, in the words of Chambers, “we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.”
Bret Bernhardt served on the Hill as chief of staff to senators Don Nickles of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina. He is now a member of the board of directors of Faith & Law and the Conservative Partnership Institute.