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for the curious about life and leading others

Power Defines Character

Jared Kirkwood

"Careful with these jet skis, they have more power than most people understand," a leader told one of our staff members on a junior high summer camp. "Please refrain from the temptation to ride alongside another watercraft and splash them with your wake."

You and I both know that a jet ski gets old pretty quick if you are not bobbing and weaving in the water and occasionally using the power of your floating Ducati to douse people with the spray of your wake. On that trip I was given the incredibly sought-after role of driving the pontoon boat from the beach to the cliff jumping site with groups of students. While on one of my many trips a fellow staff member approached our slow moving vessel on a jet ski. She had the look in her eye that said, "you have no idea what is about to hit you!"

She was right. As she approached the rear of the boat, she hit the throttle while going over the wake of my boat, attempting to splash the students. The wake abruptly changed the course of the jet ski and she slammed into the back of the boat, striking the engine at full speed causing it to explode like we were hit by a torpedo. Dead in the water I was forced to swim (...SWIM!) the boat to shore.

The power of the jet ski was too much for her to handle.

Power has an ability to effect people like nothing else in the world. Abraham Lincoln said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Saul was the picture of absolute power in the first Century. Given authority by the high priest, he used his power to protect Judaism by persecuting and destroying the first church. Stopping at nothing, Jesus took it upon himself to end the destructive cycle that Saul had begun. In a radical disorientation, everything that Saul once knew was completely changed. Everything that he once stood for was uprooted, leaving a ghost of a man. In total contrast to the egotistical maniac that once stood, Saul was blind and led by hand to Damascus.

Saul was re-purposed by Jesus. His life built upon death and destruction was re-purposed to speak life into the world in the name of Jesus.  Saul had to die so that Paul could be born.

Jesus understood power. "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." [John 13:3-5] In full knowledge and understanding of his power, he got up to serve his followers.

You are powerful, but what is your character saying about the way you use it?

P.S. this post has nothing to do with the leader's character...just a story.