"Is it more important to matter in the world or in the kingdom?" This is the question Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, posed to a group of law and government students during a recent visit to Regent University.
Steele, the first African-American to serve in this role, has experienced firsthand the challenges of being a person of faith in politics. Prior to working with the RNC, he was the lieutenant governor of Maryland.
In politics, "You can't please everyone, but you can certainly tick them all off at the same time," he admitted. "[It's a] constant struggle against the norm, against what's expected, against the stereotype."
Steele has found that focusing on one day at a time plays a big part in his ability to enjoy a job in a field known for tearing people down. "Every day appreciating what lies before you helps you prepare to deal with it," he said. "It's tough to do your job and remain in those time-honored values that were taught to you by your mama and your daddy."
Recognizing that many students gathered in the Moot Courtroom aspire to lives of public service, Steele offered some suggestions for remaining grounded in faith and still being a successful public servant. "Leadership is born out of a spirit of service," he said, using the example of a lawyer who takes the time to put their client's needs first.
Ultimately, he explained, faith can provide an excellent foundation for a life of service, even in law and politics; however, he also stressed the need to put first things first. "Does your faith inform your decisions and actions, or do your decisions and actions inform your faith?" he asked.
He concluded with encouragement for each student to pursue both a career and faith wholeheartedly. "Answer your call, and be good at what you do when you answer that call, because God is not afraid and neither should you be."
Steele's visit to Regent was sponsored by the university's chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association.
By Rachel Judy
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