So when you’re out and about in your daily life do you give much consideration to how you will be wielding your power? Power, you say, what are you talking about? I’m just an ordinary person; I don’t have any power at all! That would be a statement that is completely incorrect and the bible will school you on that. Everyone has power over something or someone and it behooves you to be completely aware of that; “Do not refuse a kindness to anyone who begs it, if it is in your power to perform it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go away! Come another time! I will give it to you tomorrow,’ if you can do it now.” (Pr 3: 27-28 Jer. Bible) Basically, power is a matter of possession and desire. People who possess things, on any level, are always in the position of having something that someone else wants. If you are the “possessee” you are the one with the power to give or not give what you possess to those who want what you have. This is not as closely related to wealth as some might think. Power can involve: possessions, money, food, shelter, clothing, time, approval, acceptance, communication, education, affection, encouragement or influence.
I am no spring chicken and spent my work life in professional and artistic circles for a long time. In those settings you always run into those who are on their way up or wish that they were further along. I was one of them! About half way into my professional life I came to the firm resolve that if I was ever in a position to be able to help someone along that I would never hesitate to take that role as a matter of course, no questions asked. I had the privilege of doing that many times! The lesson was bitterly learned, though, because I was also the victim of people who had to ability to assist me in career moves that would have bettered me and did not for whatever reason was in their heads. This was an experience that I had more than once and I must admit that I still feel the sting of some of these situations. I am a slow learner at “total forgiveness” but I am working on it. To have power of any kind is a privilege and we are expected to spend it wisely; When a man has a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.” (Lk 12:48 Jer. Bible) This sobering wisdom translates to any type of power that anyone might possess, even that tiny amount of change in your pocket for which a homeless person might ask.
So, take stock of your power and develop an awareness of how you can use it for “the good”. You might have noticed that the scripture does not specify exactly what that is. That only leads to one logical conclusion: “the good” is different in every situation. One of the things which that gap might imply is that we need to make an effort to discern the difference between wants and needs. The line between these two has become completely blurred in today’s culture. We mistake one for the other all the time and often live our life based on what pleases, satisfies or is convenient for us personally. We need to re-develop an awareness that “the good” is a global, not a local (personal) concept. It’s the difference between looking inward and looking outward. Jesus taught that we always need to be looking outward and upward in order to fulfill the will of the Father. So the concept of power really has many layers but is always defined by a clear reflection of the Lord’s kindness and generosity.
When it comes to power in particular “the good” can be outlined by the ability to provide something for someone that they do not have the ability to provide for themselves. Whatever is provided, then, would be an element which enables someone else to alleviate some kind of distress or move out of a situation which is causing them some kind of pain either physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. “The good” could also be an occasion of providing opportunity for another that they would not have on their own. What someone else does with the good that is provided them is no longer the responsibility of the provider. We have all experienced the sadness of missed opportunity in one way or another.
What would the world be like if everyone had a clear understanding of the scripture? The core of the passage really has to do with the condition of someone’s heart. “Do not refuse anyone…” is the beginning of the passage and is so telling: no judgment, no hesitation, no greed, no calculating status, no alienation of others for various reasons, simply an open heart. One final thing is notable. No writing before or after this particular Proverbs passage has a single thing to say about the consequence of your generosity. There is no formula for “accounting” and no set of rules for judging if someone else has misused another’s generosity. It is personally focused rather than focused on what others do with what you give them. It is a passage that clearly aims at our personal responsibility as a reflection of the Lord’s generosity to us. Reformation for your own heart: Do not refuse ANYONE! The Father did not refuse anyone access to the Son and his ability to save. How can do you do any less? Do you have the courage? Put your power in the right perspective. You’re not the judge of who deserves it, God is!
Copyright ©2010, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved
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Check out more about Kathryn at www.atravelersview.org
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