2002-10-04 - Powerful Words
We Americans are really into power. Power lunches, power walking, power ties - and I particularly enjoy power shopping. But Christ instructs us to focus on being servants, not putting too much emphasis on power.
(Mat 20:24-28 NRSV) When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
There is nothing wrong with power per se, and sometimes God blesses us with powerful positions, which He can use to further His Kingdom. But we shouldn't seek power for power's sake itself. We should do all we do, with this goal in mind: How can I help further Christ's kingdom?
To many people today, even Christians, power is the bottom-line, whether it's in the scramble up the corporate ladder, the political scene, offices in our local groups, leadership in a "movers and shakers church" etc. Sometimes I think we start out with the right motives. Perhaps we seek an office in an organization, because we feel we can make a difference. But then we get caught up in staying in power, and the perks of power -- and we forget why we are there, or at least put God's priorities on the back burner.
We need to remember that the reason God gives power, is for us to use it to serve Him and people. How are you using the power or authority you have, as parent, as husband, as teacher, as boss, as officer in an organization? When you make a decision, what are your motives? Are you trying to stay in power, please people, make yourself "look good," not make waves? Or are you trying to do what you believe Christ would do? He used His authority in love and servanthood. Remember, God looks at our hearts.
(1 Sam 16:7 NRSV) But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
If you are seeking a powerful position, ask God to reveal your motives, and to help you have His heart about it. And as for any power we already have, let's pray for God to give us discernment so we can remember that it is a gift from God and should be used for His purposes and glory.