Letter to the Brethren – December 11, 2020
Dear Brethren and Friends,
When we look at all of the mounting problems in the world today, it becomes obvious that so many are caused by man’s lust for power.
We can see this in many places around the world and, particularly at this time, the tensions in the USA over the recent presidential election. Many of the accusations and recriminations from all sides of the argument have done nothing but to bring harm to this great country’s reputation. Unfortunately, it is replicated in so many other parts of the world and the advent of Covid-19 has enabled many other people to become decision makers in order to cope with this unfortunate outbreak, and how many seem to revel in their new found authority and control.
What is human power? Power is influence, authority over, personal or political ascendancy with the person having the power being the one in control, the one who makes the decisions and the one who is seen as important.
Power is the ability to command—to get others to obey, even if they are reluctant. Authority is achieved when other people accept your right to tell them what to do.
There seems to be an in-built desire in so many people to have power and authority over others. And it is not new. It is a phenomenon that can be traced back thousands of years and there seems to be no let up.
We all know the phrase that “power corrupts—and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and this may be true, to some extent, when addressing power exercised by man. The more you look at the way many people get into high office—and stay there—the more crookedness and power play there seems to be. Politics, because of the power and authority that come with high office, is certainly not the only area where this is evident.
That desire is not confined to politicians alone. It is in every facet of society. There are power struggles in the boardroom, in the factory and within trades unions, in sports clubs, in the entertainment and media industry, in churches and with some religious people—in fact in every nook and cranny of society. And within families too.
But power has been one of the main aims of people like Attila the Hun, Mussolini, Adolph Hitler, Ayotollah Homeini, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un and so many others. Why? So that they could impose their will on the populace and basically do anything they want.
Generally, such dictators and autocrats don’t seem to have the well-being of their citizens at heart. They want to hang on to power, irrespective of the consequences. Often power mad—with no thought for anything or anybody but themselves
And when someone is in a position of power and authority, they can become paranoid about holding on to their position. It seems that wielding power is so vitally important to them.
There is a vast gulf between progressing because of ability, diligence, vision and loyalty, rather than getting on because of power play and politics.
The Bible has many examples about the lust for power: Satan’s rebellion (Isaiah 14:12-14); the rebellion of Korah against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16); the ambition of James and John (Matthew 20); Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8); and Diotrephes (3 John). All were the antithesis of true belief and faith in the great Creator God.
All of the problems that we see around the world, many caused by self-seeking political leaders, will be changed in the not-too-distant future.
In Acts 1:8 we read: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The power to which Jesus referred here was not political, but spiritual. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, they were clothed with heavenly power. And we see that chapter two of Acts describes the coming of the Holy Spirit. This is the power that true Christians have been given now. They should not be involved in the power game that seems to envelop every facet of life.
In Matthew 18:1-5, we read about the sort of humble attitude we should have. At Christ’s return, when the Kingdom of God will be instituted, those Church members who have remained faithful to the end and have God’s Holy Spirit together with those who died in the faith, will be changed into spiritual members of the God Family.
In God’s Kingdom we will have power—power to serve—not self-serving. We will have grown and overcome—we will be trusted and trustworthy and God will be able to entrust us with His unlimited power which is something that we couldn’t handle today.
How can we even begin to comprehend the power that God has available? Can we ever begin to appreciate just how great God is? God is watching us now, while we are still relatively powerless, to see how we live. He expects us to take seriously even the smallest details of the Way of Life we have been called to. We must use the Holy Spirit properly—that gift that we were given at baptism—and one day, we will be welcomed by the great Creator God into His Kingdom to live with Him in full brilliance and majesty and share His awesome power forever.
We may not have much power now, but in the future, as members of the God Family, we will have more power than we can ever realise at this time. It’s the power in the Kingdom of God that we should be eagerly looking forward to, not the selfish, self-serving power that seems to be a high priority with so many today.
We will be given the power to serve humanity, to teach about God and the proper way to live and to help in every way. We will use that power for the good of all concerned.
Just for the time being, man’s appalling rule on earth is being allowed in the short term but in the future, when Jesus Christ will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords, Godly power will be used in the very best interests of all concerned.
That is the time that we can all eagerly look forward to.
With Christian love,
Brian Gale (United Kingdom)