POWER. One of the great corruptors of leaders. We all deny it in public, but struggle with its pull over us in private.
If you recall, it was one of the temptations of Jesus while in the desert for 40 days. Actually the 3rd temptation he faced.
"I will give you all the kingdoms of this world in their splendor," the demon said to Jesus (Matthew 4:9).
Power is intoxicating. Throughout history, leaders have given in to the temptation of power- whether political, military, economic, or even moral and spiritual power- even though many continued to speak and lead and influence in the name of Jesus.
But when looking at Jesus, we see a different example. Jesus did not cling to power, but instead emptied himself and became as we are.
Henri Nouwen writes so eloquently in his classic leadership book In the Name of Jesus that the reason power is such a strong corruptor is "it seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life." BAM.
We are constantly confronted with the temptation to replace love with power. Ruling over vs. leading forward. Control vs. love.
Leaders are naturally given power when they are in charge of something. It comes with the territory in leadership. So it's a given that with leadership and responsibility, you are given the power to influence.
The question is "What do you do with it?" Do you leverage it for your own gain, or steward it for the benefit of others?