Read: Matthew 20:20-28
Jesus’ disciples could smell it in the air. The Master had been talking about his departure, and that meant that their own time to rule was imminent. The disciples were unclear about Jesus’ role in all this, because he continually was confusing them (or so they thought) with parables about his impending death and resurrection. While they had difficulty interpreting Jesus’ words, they understood one thing clearly: As Jesus’ apostles, they possessed power and authority.
The Bible records several incidents in which the disciples argued over who would possess the highest degree of power. This was clearly an issue about which these men were concerned extended beyond themselves to their families. In the passage, the mother of James and John blatantly requested that her sons be granted the most prominent and powerful positions in Jesus’ Kingdom.
As we read in the passages, power is essential to leadership . The ability it accords an individual to influence others can be an enormous force for good. But many, like Jesus’ disciples at this point in their relationship development, focus on the self-service aspects of power. To these disciples, power implied opportunity for importance. They allowed their mind to envision thrones and positions and titles. But Jesus’ rebuke was stern:
None Of that! Not in my Kingdom.
The starting point toward responsible exercise of power is asking the fundamental question,
Why do I want it? Many who address that question struggle with the temptation to give all the wrong answers. Some leaders expend their lives in a constant struggle to compete against and dominate others in their guest to acquire , and then defend, their positions of power. But Jesus implied that there is only one correct answer it this question,
I want power and influence because with it I can better serve God, people and this organization. Anything less than that response violates God’s trust in you as one who has been granted powers.
- Power / Influence and Who God Is.
- Memorize Luke 9:48
- Power/Influence and Who I Am
- Power/Influence and How it Works
- Power/Influence and What I Do
Matthew 20contains too much material to absorb in one reading. Jesus made such a definitive and helpful statement regarding woves that we would do ourselvess a disservice by leaving this passage at this point. A few questions will help us discover some essential ideas about this complicated and potentially either helpful or destructive things called power.
Then he said to them,
Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all — he is the greatest.
Exercising power involves knowing when and how to take risks — that’s no secret. But how effective are you at encouraging others to take risks? That’s also the key part of a transformational leadership — giving your followers courage to step “out of the box” and rewarding their ads efforts, even if they fail to produce the intended result. Turn to John 20:19-31
Jesus took a risk in Thomas. Then Jesus asked Thomas to accept a great risk from him, an challenge that, Thomas accepted and acted upon until his death. Now that’s leadership that’s worth a second look!
Power ultimately belongs to God. Knowing this, Obadiah and other prophets sailed against its improper use. But in Obadiah 8 – 14 we encounter a high and noble use of power. As a leader, think about ways in which you can use your power in an exalted and benevolent way. Read this verses again with this focus in mind.