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“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV).
There are numerous non-government organizations and companies that have a substantial lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. An optimist would indicate that the lobbyists are there to educate lawmakers on the nuances of current or pending legislation that affects the employer of the lobbyist(s). A pessimist would state that the lobbyists are there to unfairly influence the legislative process on current or pending legislation. In any event, the job of the lobbyist is to try to convince those in power to take specific action based on what the lobbyist perceives to be the correct course of action.
I too am a lobbyist. However, I have never interacted with any politicians, and the closest I have come to any politician in Washington, DC was several years ago as I walked past the White House. I suspect that I have spent more years as a lobbyist than the vast majority of any lobbyist in Washington D.C. My lobbying is done on a pro-bono basis – I don’t get paid. I represent myself and have lobbied the same entity for decades upon decades. I have an unprecedented rate of failure in my lobbying efforts, but I persist to try to craft the perfect pitch that includes passion, reason, and creativity. I can even present a “win-win” pitch that everybody should love, right?
My “client” is God. I suspect He smiles and shakes His head and allows me to each day make my pitch as I try to get Him on board with my plans. On my better days, I pray to God, sometimes with wordless groans but with confidence that the Spirit will intercede for me. On other occasions, I try to disguise my pitch as a prayer and often confuse God with Santa Claus or a vending machine.
In the secular world, we are motivated by action and reward. For example, if I work for this company, they will reward me with payment. If I study hard at this school, they will reward me with a degree. If I am nice to my neighbor, hopefully they will be nice to me.
So, if I provide my prayers, presence, witness, gifts, and service to God does that give me special consideration when I make my prayer, or pitch, to God? No. The reality of the situation is that God does not always give us what we want but always gives us what we need. And nobody knows better what we need than God. So, the eventual answer to prayer may be no, not now, I have something different in mind, or yes.
A more fruitful approach is to submit to God rather than try to lobby Him. The Bible teaches that the key to submission is trusting in Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis added).
It is easy to trust in a God that knows all of my many, many flaws and shortcomings but still loves me enough to offer me the following promise and pathway to Him. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
My lobbying days are getting more infrequent. I pray that yours are too.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for loving us even though we often fail to properly love, honor, and trust in You. Forgive us for our efforts to lobby you rather than trust in You. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight, and give us the confidence that You are always with us and will never forsake us. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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