READ: Ecclesiastes 4:13-16
- Solomon should have understood the transitory nature of power. He’d observed the family infighting among his brothers for the power of David’s throne. He’d surely observed it in the kingdoms around him because he had subjugated so many of them. He knew that power was temporary. His description is apt. A person rises to a position of power, only to look over his shoulder and see another coming behind him.
- Lord Acton (so the story goes) wrote a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887 in which he said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” He went on to say, “Great men are almost always bad men.” Right or wrong, the idea is worth pondering. It seems more often than we would like to admit that a normal human being, given some control over others (think cheerleading squad leader; team captain; marine sergeant; foreman; building supervisor; et al.), becomes a tyrant.
- But even power, as narcotic as it can be, suffers the same malady as everything else Solomon addresses. Once you have it, you can easily lose it. Get it, and you want more. It’s elusive to grasp and eely to maintain. It’s transitory. It’s like chasing wind. It’s like grabbing a handful of smoke. It, like the others, doesn’t ultimately satisfy. Can you do something good with it? Absolutely. Is it wrong to have it? Absolutely not. Will it give ultimate meaning to your life? A resounding “NO.”
- Describe the most powerful position you’ve been in?
- What is your opinion of those in power?
- Why do you think power tends to corrupt?
PRAY: Pray for those who are in positions of influence, that they are wise and fair. Ask God to give you power in whatever arena would be most significant for you. Pray that He will protect us from the ruthlessly powerful.