The Power Paradox

About four-thousand years ago God spoke to Abraham and said, “Leave what’s familiar and I’ll make a nation out of you. And here’s the Big Deal, Abe: you’ll bless the entire world.”

What does it mean to bless an entire planet? How would I do that?

Would that mean I’d have the power to make people happy? To end all wars? To eliminate disease and pain? To enforce a global shalom? And even at my altruistic best, how would I keep the peace between individuals/tribes/religions/nations who want some sort of power over another? If you’re a parent of more than one child, you know this isn’t simple. Most of us attempt to keep peace by wielding power as in who has the bigger stick. In societies, we grant power to certain people (police, judges, military, etc.) to quarantine bad people who can disrupt the peace.

But Jesus personalized peace in a shocking way: “Come to me—all you who are tired and weighed down—and I’ll personally give you rest.” Then he oddly follows that up with, “…for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

It struck me the other day that I’ve never really thought of God as being humble. After all, he’s omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent… omnieverything. If you believe in a personalized First Cause of any sort, it’s hard not to be awed.

But humble? Really? Apparently, God looks at power—and the way it’s used—very differently than we do.

Perhaps it means that the way to bless the world will never be by power. Be honest: in our moments when we dream how we would benevolently rule the world if we were king, we still have to admit that all the power in the world can’t change the human heart. And that’s the power of Jesus.

Maybe it’s time we leaders reconsider how we think about power. In relationships. In politics. In culture. In organizations.

I’m not talking about abdication. But wouldn’t it behoove us to take some time to wrestle with this question: How did Jesus bless the world? Wouldn’t that be worth emulating? And is the servant (us) ever above the master (Jesus) in terms of practice or methodologies?

That’s a rhetorical question.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6b)

~Dave Workman | Elemental Churches

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