How Are You Stewarding Your Power?

But here’s the biggest contradiction: (George) Washington was an extremely ambitious young man who worked hard to achieve fame, glory, land, and riches-yet at a pivotal moment in American history, he did something so selfless that it’s difficult to fully fathom… So what did he do? In a nutshell, he voluntarily gave up incredible power… The temptation not to surrender all that power must have been extraordinary… Somehow he made an impossibly grand sacrifice-and in doing so he changed the course of history of the world.
— Eric Metaxas

George was the man who could have been King.  Not like the other one they were all fleeing tyranny from, but a better version of that.  Many wanted to assign ultimate and monarchical power to one really amazing man who they knew to be “fearless and graceful,” “tall and powerful,” and “the manliest man most people had ever seen.”  Somehow they believed that placing supreme power in the hands of one man would not change him and intend a different future than the one they fled.  Unlikely.

Metaxas’ book “Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness” also profiles some other pretty interesting men:

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • William Wilberforce
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Eric Liddell
  • Charles Colson

I’ve only read the first chapter on Washington (mainly because it was offered to me as a free preview in a .pdf version I could easily reference on my iPad), but it was fascinating.  As with most people, the person you thought you knew, even an iconic one like this one, turns out to be incredibly different than you believed.  You don’t really know someone until you know their story and even the ones you think you understand at a higher level have a lot more to them than first imagined.

Lord Acton knew the corruptible nature of power.  The Bible couldn’t be any clearer about wealth and power.  I mean, how implausible is the idea of a camel getting through the standard doorway much less the non-business end of a needle?  And yet, it seems that everything (certainly our Western culture) is predicated on achieving and holding power.  I would love to say that I’ve found a palpable distinction in the handling of power by leaders with faith foundations, but apart from far too few exceptions, it just isn’t the case.

The incredible paradox of this whole thing is that God’s plan was to entrust mankind with His power and He really didn’t have a plan “B.”  Whether it is leadership of a ministry, business, or family, we find ourselves in often unchecked and ultimate authority.  That puts us in an enviable place per the world but a very precarious place per the Kingdom.

  • How are you doing with stewarding the power, wealth, and authority afforded to you by our God?
  • What rhythms have you established in your life to hold you accountable and keep your leadership in check?
  • Are you a good king?  (one who uses his power, resources, and influence exclusively for the sake of serving others and not self)
  • What needs to change?