Recently I attended a meeting that was set up to organise a function to be held soon. I like to keep it vague so that no one gets hurt. Kinda.
Anyway, one thing that became very clear to me as I entered the meeting and noticed the atmosphere from the people in attendance was that there remains a great truth in the saying power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is something about the whiff of power that can turn people’s heads. It can make them think of themselves as ever so slightly superior to others, with the clout that they have and the ability to exercise it whenever they want. Not only that but that faint promise that they can truly have whatever they want in that sphere of existence.
I am aware of myself. I am aware of my nature and tendencies and I am not one to suggest at all that the whiff of power would not entice to me likewise. As a result I’m very wary of any area that might give me that impression. Many a story has been told of people who enter positions of power with noble intentions who are very soon compromised by the many factors involved in the executing, maintaining and progressing of that power.
That’s what makes the story of Moses all the more fascinating. Here was a guy who was aware of his destiny from a young man and only his impetuous nature and anger management issue made him try to act before his time. His intentions were no doubt noble, but it was such a serious misfire that from a position of power and prominence in the super power of the known world he was on the run in the middle of the wilderness.
Whatever happened in the ensuing time, what is clear is that the man who was called in the Burning Bush episode was no longer the bravado social justice hero messiah figure that he would have been 40 years earlier. It is not to say he lost the ability, the intelligence, the rhetoric style or anything else. What it is to say that by the time God commissions him on the great work of the era he is ready to be used by God. That is the key to meekness as I read it. It’s not to say it is about weakness, but it is implicitly based on that humility from experience that due to our unerring ability to mess things up, it would be good to actually give the controls back to the owner rather than try to play by ourselves.
Of course Moses’ own anger management issues would be his own downfall preventing him for stepping into that which God had promised his people.
That acknowledgement leads me to the point about management and the issue with the power trip. I notice Jesus wasn’t big on people getting ideas of power and the whole trip of titles and position. Indeed He was more than happy to show that the power of love was in giving it away, not hoarding it to exhibit as an ego trip. The problem with power unattached to responsibility is that for some reason rather than making a decision because of our stewardship call, we begin to believe that hype that maybe we are good enough to be in charge, to wield the power, to be the big chief making all the big decisions. That problem is quickly remedied by the ever helpful reminder that without the Creator in control, and giving the instructions to make sure we go the right way in our management there is a great likelihood that a mess will be in the offing sooner.
The management mentality and meekness goes together well then – that which we have is not our own, it belongs to the Maker of all things. That we are able to exercise some level of engagement with it at all is not something to take lightly, but something to place in the context of the relationship that made it possible. Does that make it look like a restricted, dour existence? Not if it is actually an invitation to live a joyful life of freedom allowing us to be whatever we are called to be to contribute to making life worth living in preparation to a better one to come.
That of course, then, just requires me to do the small thing of learning how to be meek all of again and not making the mistake of thinking that by myself I can make it. I blatantly cannot and life is much better in His will than without it. God help us all.
For His Name's Sake