When he laughed, respectable
senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried
the little children died in the streets.
Epitaph on a Tyrant
4 questions habitually asked on meeting somebody in power:
What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you exercise it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?
The Independent Mind’, lecture at Nottingham, June 18, 1993
Benazir Bhutto (For Contrast)
Every dictator uses religion as a prop to keep himself in power.
Interview on 60 Minutes, 1986
“`But,’ said Alice, the question is whether you can make a word mean different things.’
`Not so,’ said Humpty-Dumpty, `the question is which is to be the master. That’s all.’
We are the masters at the moment, and not only at the moment, but for a very long time to come. often quoted as `We are the masters now’
Stewardship means to consciously take up our cultural power, investing it intentionally among the seemingly powerless, putting our power at their disposal to enable them to cultivate and create.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.
Letter to Gerrit Smith, 30 March 1849
Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel
This is the first temptation of power: We view the problem as “out there.” We recognize it in other churches, pastors, fellow Christians, or political and cultural leaders, but we ignore the problem in our own hearts.
The kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power, that is, in works and practice. God loves the ‘doers of the word’ in faith and love, and not the ‘mere hearers,’ who, like parrots, have learned to utter certain expressions with readiness.
Martin Luther King
What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 3 April 1887
Our prayers lay the track down which Gods power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.
The Southern white doesn’t wan the blacks removed. What he wants is to have the blacks under his control, in a special relationship to him.
You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power- he’s free again.
There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise.
The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.
Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them.
Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.
Only in the Cross of Christ will we receive power when we are powerless. We will find strength when we are weak. We will experience hope when our situation is hopeless. Only in the Cross is there peace for our troubled hearts.
Every Communist must grasp the truth, `Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’.
Speech, 6 November 1938
Money is power. Power is not intrinsically evil, of course, but it is intrinsically dangerous.
Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Comprehensive Guide to What the Bible Says about Financial Stewardship, Generosity, Materialism, Retirement, Financial Planning, Gambling, Debt, and More, Tyndale Press, 2011.
Power is meant to be shared with the goal of empowering others. Hoarded power weakens others and exalts oneself. Power, when grounded in biblical values, serves others by liberating them. It acknowledges that people bear the image of God and treats them in a way that will nurture the development of that image. In so doing, we honor their Creator.”
Why is power a gift? Because power is for flourishing. When power is used well, people and the whole cosmos come more alive to what they were meant to be. And flourishing is the test of power.
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Consider checking out our illustrations page on Power.