It’s amazing how simple activities in our day to day endeavors speak volumes about other parts of our lives and faith. I recently had an experience that made we rethink what I thought I knew about power as a Christian and leader for many years. I really hope you grasp the gist as you read on.
It’s our 6th year wedding anniversary. My lovely wife and I were headed to Cancun, Mexico to celebrate. We had lots of fun activities lined up and were too excited to get pictures on my newly acquired smart phone. I packed the phone power cord, power bank charger and other stuff in my bag and continued charging the phone as I drove to the airport to park so we can join a shuttle to meet up with the flight. It was a chilly morning so we rushed into the warm part of the facility and started talking about the fun ahead while waiting for the shuttle taking us from the parking lot to departures. We were running late by the time the shuttle arrived but were too happy when it drove off with us. Smiling with so much excitement, I decided we needed a selfie in the shuttle to start off with vacation pictures. And then it dawned on me that I had left the phone in the car! Worse still, I can’t go back as we will miss our flight if I attempt any stunt. I had the power bank and cord in my bag but no phone. What a mess!!
Most Christians move around with power but leave behind what the power is meant to be used for.
The Culture of Power
Some cultures prefer that the powerful look and act powerful. Especially in high power distance cultures, where power is made visible and tangible, and dramatic differences in power are seen as a natural, indeed crucial part of a healthy society. This is not suppose to be a model of Christianity because even though power is defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as ‘the ability or right to control people or things’ Acts of Apostles chapter 1 verse 8 tell us why Christ endued us Christians with power.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The word ‘witnesses’ stands out. We are endowed with power to be attesters to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Professional or spiritual manipulation for showmanship, and petrifying people because you are in a place of power is not only bad but also erroneous. Leaders listen.
My car failed to start one Saturday morning I was planning to go play soccer. My wife volunteered her jumper cables and helped me while I started my car using her battery. Now a funny thing happened the following day being a Sunday after I packed my family into my wife’s car, which is the ‘family’s official Sunday logistic car’ used for going to church and grocery shopping. ‘Family Sunday car’ failed to start due to battery issues. Guess how we were able to make it to church that Sunday? I used the same cable to jump start the car using my car battery. Lesson learnt here for me is never to celebrate when people fall but to help them get back up because I might need them to help me get up tomorrow if I fall.
Change in Demonstration.
The way we typically view power in the church creates an unhealthy dependence on humans and minimizes the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the believer. The power is still the same. Our generation seems to have doctored a change in its Demonstration.
Some people have power that is given due to their abilities or by their caring about others (or for a host of other reasons). This is the biblical model and the issue is not whether one has more power than others (which can never be ‘remedied’) but whether the character of that person with the power allows that power to be used in godly ways or not. Power needs to be wielded fitly with deific intentions.