Who will our next President be? Will he or she really be the most powerful person in the world? The candidates clearly have their own beliefs of how they will “live in” to their assumed power.
One of my political science professors used to say something along the lines of, “Power: is it being used to benefit the most or is it mostly being used to benefit the person who has it?” Ever since that class I have utilized that question as a lens to observe those entrusted with some level of power.
Albeit quite systemically simple, years ago one of my favorite examples of observing people with power was the brand new, young group of camp counselors. For many this was the first time they had positional power – power over others. Inevitably, they would ‘lord over’ the young campers for whom they were responsible. The main reason I appreciated this situation was because it provided an excellent opportunity to walk with young leaders in how to navigate the waters of power.
Clearly some in leadership positions today never were camp counselors. Every day, regardless of the organization, we witness individuals who have chosen to use the power they posses to benefit themselves and/or their particular agenda. We witness those who were oppressed by others, once they gain power, become the oppressor. In my experience it does not matter to what demographic a person belongs, once in power, many begin to use it solely for their benefit.
Jesus always modeled a different way. Jesus healed, fed and even washed the feet of others, all a witness to how he used his power in service to others. Jesus was present with others, found a teachable moment and then sent folks out, fully empowered to share…including their power. All is still true today.
Whether you’re the President or you’re a camp counselor, how we use power that has come our way says a lot about who we are and who we have chosen to follow. Is the benefit for self or for others?