By Howard Rich
Have you ever known someone who let power or position go to his or her head? I’ll bet it was hard for you to follow or respect that leader. Power is an essential force in human relations that can be used for good or evil, but to be a benevolent force it must be tamed; therefore, Christ’s stewards must consider the responsible use of the power He places in our hands.
By tempering power, those who hold it can exert it for the benefit of those who are without it, which goes directly to the heart of trusting followers to exercise their own authority. Relinquishing or taming power sends a signal that the leader is confident in his position and understands that he must give power away if he is going to achieve results for the organization. Stewardship of followers dictates leaders release power and enable people, unleashing their influence for good in the lives of those under their care.
Power can be a corrupting force that distorts our relationships, but with tempering and thoughtful consideration, that power can shape our lives positively. Taming power certainly is not easy and comes with great difficulty; however, the payoff is huge when we begin to see the changes in ourselves and those we lead. Instead of leaving a wake of damaged relationships, we can enjoy the fruits of lasting friendships.
Love and affiliation between people is a natural taming mechanism. When a person in power feels love or a type of affiliation with a person, group, or population that person tends not to use their power in hurtful ways against those people. At times, love can fail to promote the good use of power, especially when we as leaders are hurt or betrayed by those under our care.
When we experience those times we must practice forgiveness and forgetfulness. Forgiveness removes the transgression and forgetfulness sets us free from carrying the wrong through the rest of our journey.
Another effective taming mechanism is the real and unique responsibility stewards have in relation to followers. In Luke 12:42-46 Jesus talks about the faithful and wise manager who takes care of the master’s people and possessions. Jesus praises the faithful manager for diligently discharging his duties and caring for the master’s household. He condemns the steward who forgets about the master and mistreats the master’s possessions. When leaders embrace stewardship with a sense of responsibility, they can act in useful and effective ways, but when leaders shun responsibility they can become wasteful, impulsive, irresponsible, and aggressive, causing them to descend into neglect.
How are you stewarding the power Jesus has loaned to you?