W52D4 - Power

"The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength
you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am
I not sending you?'" - Judges 6:14.

Gideon lacked power, or so he thought, when the Lord commissioned him to go and defeat the Midianites. Yet he did indeed have power - the power of God's choice and God's presence as Gideon carried out the Lord's assignment. There is not question that any leadership position has a certain amount of positional power - what the boss says goes. And there is expert power, where leaders have greater experience or expertise, thus giving them power to direct other people's actions and roles. The power mentioned in today's verse stems from the leaders call to do something related to his or her God-given purpose. That source of that power is not authority or expertise, but the leader's partnership with God.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to meditate on the source of your leadership power. Do you sense a call from the Lord to do what you are doing, or is it more of a career choice? If it is the latter, then perhaps it's time to look for something more tied to your purpose? If it is the former, then are you maximizing the relationship and partnership with the Lord, focusing less on your abilities and 'power' and more on His? Are you looking for reasons to lead or excuses not to?


Week 49, Day 1 - Power

"Look! It is Solomon’s carriage, escorted by
sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, all of them
wearing the sword, all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side, prepared for
the terrors of the night" - Song of Solomon 3:7-8.

Today's passage describes Solomon's entourage passing by the writer. The king had 60 men in attendance, all dressed in battle regalia and prepared for action. The writer was quite impressed with Solomon's royal swagger. The problem was that Solomon eventually used that power to enslave his people and use treasury funds for personal building projects. Eventually he believed he was above God's law, marrying many wives and learning to serve their gods. His show of power ultimately split the 12 tribes into two nations and ruined any chance for the continuation of the glory days of his father David. Leaders must be careful lest, when they surround themselves with pomp and trappings of power, they think they deserve all the ceremony and hoopla accompanying their presence - and then use that power for personal gain.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to inoculate yourself against power going to your head and giving you an inflated estimation of your importance. One thing you can do is to write your funeral eulogy, for you must be doing today what you want people to say about you when you're gone. This also reminds you that you are mortal and will pass from the scene eventually, motivating you to plan for your succession and keeping you accountable for how you use your power.


Week 44, Day 1 - Power

 “'The Lord bless him!' Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.
'He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and
the dead.' She added, 'That man is our close relative;
he is one of our guardian-redeemers'” - Ruth 2:20.

The 'him' in this story is Boaz who was kind to both the widows Naomi and Ruth when they returned from Moab because there was food in Israel. Boaz had resources and power and he used them both not only for business but also to help others. Because of his kindness, Naomi blessed him and God heard her words and blessed Boaz with a good wife - and that wife was none other than Ruth! Of course, all leaders have power and if they use it to help and bless others, it will put a 'blessing cycle' into motion: leaders do good deeds, people are helped, people will speak good things about them and their organization, God will hear and the Lord will in turn bless the leaders.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to create the right conditions that will put the blessing cycle into motion. How can you use your power and resources to bless your employees and your community? This will require that you discover what either really needs and then make a concerted long-term effort to meet those needs. All the while, you must be doing it for the right reasons: to please the Lord as a good steward of personal and organizational resources


Week 39, Day 1 - Power

"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted
by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders
to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who
were two years old and under, in accordance with
the time he had learned from the Magi" - Matthew 2:16.

In today's verse, Herod was old, but was not happy to hear that a king had been born in his kingdom, a king that Herod did not approve or appoint. So he set out to restore order in his kingdom by ordering the execution of any male child in his region in order to wipe out his competition to the throne, for Herod had been appointed by Rome and he had plans for his sons to succeed him, not this child about whom the Magi had told him. The hallmark of an authoritarian leader is anger. They believe they own what they lead (sometimes they do) and anyone who does anything to harm or damage what is theirs brings an eruption of emotion. This anger is how they control people and get them to do what the angry leader wants.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine the role that anger plays in your leadership style and role. Are you known for your outbursts of anger, disgust or sarcasm? How do you act when you become angry? Do you speak angry words or show your anger in some other way? Reflect on why you become so agitated when people don't do what you want or expect. Remember, God appointed you, and you don't own your position; you are simply a steward.


Week 34, Day 1 - Power

"Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for
the Lord’s support and say, 'Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us'" - Micah 3:9-11.

In this passage, God alerted the leaders to the fact that He knew what they had been doing and He was not pleased. Notice that each one of the leadership roles was doing what they were doing only for the money, and had in effect become mercenaries - giving their services to the highest bidder. What's more, they did this and felt like God was not going to judge their perversion of power; in fact, they felt confident the Lord was on their side! Leaders must all deal with the 'big three' of temptations - sex, money and power - and in this case, the leaders had failed miserably over two of those 'big three.' The lesson is that God is watching leaders and will hold them accountable for any abuse of power.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to examine your relationship with money and power. Why are you doing what you do? Is it for the money? Are you using your position and authority to enrich yourself? This is not to say that you cannot be rewarded handsomely for your work or gifts, but you cannot allow money to be your main motive. Of course, the major antidote for greed is generosity, so also look at your giving habits during today's reflection.


Week 29 Day 1 - Power

"When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi,
he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem
and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with
the time he had learned from the Magi" - Matthew 2:16.

The hallmark of authoritarian leaders is anger. They believe they own what they lead (sometimes they do) and they are infuriated when someone does something to their 'baby.' This anger can be expressed verbally or in actions that let everyone know who is in chage and the consequences for failure or disobedience. What's more, in this verse we see that Herod did not have a succession plan, except that his sons would take over, but only upon his death. In some ways, authoritarian leaders believe they will live a long time, if not forever.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Leadership Step is for you to reflect on the role that power plays in your leadership role. You can measure that by your anger level. How angry do you get when people do 'dumb' things or when they disappoint or fall short of your expectations? How do you express this anger? Do you show it and you don't even know it? If your anger level is high, then ask God to show you the root source of your anger and determine to change your style.


Week 24, Day 1 - Power

"He [Herod] had been quarreling with the people
of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together
and sought an audience with him. After securing
the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of
the king, they asked for peace, because they depended
on the king’s country for their food supply" - Acts 12:20-21.

In this passage, we see that Herod was feuding with a people from the region of Sidon and Tyre. The people sought an audience because Herod controlled their food supply and held the upper hand in negotiations and relationships. There is little doubt that the people would have paid Blastus a bribe to 'secure his support,' which indicates the dysfunction in these relationships with Herod that impacted the lives of many and enriched a few. For Herod and Blastus, power was something to be used to control others while benefitting personally from its application. Leaders who serve the people do not use their power to control others, but when they do, it creates all kinds of disorder and suffering.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Because you have power, people may be telling you what they think you want to hear, which may not be the full truth. Your Step today is to set some meetings this week away from the office to talk to people who have the courage to tell you the truth about you or your organization. When they tell you, you are not to take offense, but to thank them for their candor and honesty. Repeat this exercise regularly so people are not intimidated by your power.


W18D6 - Power

"Woe to the land whose king was a servant
    and whose princes feast in the morning" - Ecclesiastes 10:6.

Today's verse indicates that there are two categories of leaders who abuse power when they finally obtain it. One group are the former 'servants' - those who were abused by power and now that they have it are going to abuse it the way they had experienced it. The second group are the 'princes' - those who have always had power by virture of the fact that they are royalty and were never followers. The princes use their power to feed themselves and their ego and not serve the needs of others. Both groups are guilty of abusing power by not using it for the puropse it was given, and that is to lead effectivelyl, not to use it to serve personal needs.

LEADERSHIP STEP: The best time to determine how you will use leadership power is before you have it. If you already have it, you must learn to shift the benefit of your power to others and to the future good of the organization. Today revisit an exercise from W4D1 and develop your leadership philosophy that describes how you will use your leadership power. Once you have written it out, obtain some help from others in deciding how you will apply it on a daily basis.

Download My Ldrshp Philo


Week 14 Day 1 - Power

"God will help the king to judge the people fairly;
there need be no mistakes" - Proverbs 16:10, LB.

This verse is really about power and how the leader should use it. God gives leaders power to judge and make decisions, and He then assists leaders to apply that power properly, without prejudice or self-interest. Since many decisions are complex involving many people and complicated technical issues, leaders should eagerly welcome God into the leadership process to insure that they are not abusing their power or falling short of the lofty standard that God sets for those He has promoted to that power.

LEADERSHIP STEP: You should have a personal leadership board made up of advisors and mentors who help you develop and evaluate your leadership role and progress. They can also help you evaluate how effectively you are using your God-given leadership power to insure you are accurate and without bias. Make a list today of seven people who could function on that board. Then call or meet with them this week and ask them to serve you in this capacity.


Week 9 Day 1 - Power

"In your relationships with one another, have the same
mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used
to his own advantage . . . ." - Philippians 2:5-6.

Jesus had all power but He did not use that power to Lord it over others or to build His own Kingdom. He used power to do the Father's will, to set people free, and then to empower them to live abundant lives. Leaders should follow Jesus' example and not use their leadership power to their own advantage. Rather, leaders should use their power for the benefit of others, even those who don't agree with them or celebrate their leadership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you using your power to build your organization or to build your own little kingdom? The way you know is to look at the benefits your power brings to you personally. Do you have a special parking space or one of the best offices? Do you use your position and authority to get yourself benefits to which others don't have access? Add it all up and see what your power is getting you. Then decide how you are going to use your power for the benefit of others.