Are You Chasing Power?
- Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: 'Use power to help people.' For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. Amen."
It was a beautiful expression of Mr. Bush’s understanding of why he had been entrusted with so much power. And it was an expression of his commitment to use the power of his office for good, for God and for others—and not to serve or glorify himself.
John Maxwell once observed, “The best leaders feel motivated by love and compassion for their people.” And Regina Brett, columnist for The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), put it this way: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
Lech Walesa is the former trade unionist and human rights activist who led Poland out from under the shadow of Soviet domination. By profession, he was a shipyard worker. On August 14, 1980, Lech Walesa scaled the wall of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, and led the shipyard workers’ strike—a peaceful rebellion against Communist oppression. Out of that strike came the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) Free Trade Union. For his role in the formation of the union, Walesa spent nearly a year in prison, plus another four years under house arrest—but he was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the prize money to Solidarnosc.
Lech Walesa proved himself to be a man of power—and a man of peace. Before the Gdansk Shipyard strike, he was an ordinary shipyard worker, with only a vocational school education. Yet he sparked the movement that brought down the Iron Curtain—and he rose to serve as president of Poland from 1990 to 1995. Looking back over those achievements, he reflected, “Power is only important as an instrument for service to the powerless.”
Great leaders inspire and motivate; they do not terrorize and intimidate. They use their power for the people, not against them. That’s why great leaders are so rare. Those who have the greatest skill at acquiring power do not always have the temperament and values for using power wisely and compassionately. Power chasers tend to be power abusers — and people abusers. A great leader uses power to serve the powerless, not to serve himself.
Excerpted from What Are You Living For? by Pat Williams (Regal, 2008). Copyright 2008 by Pat Williams and Jim Denney. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Pat Williams is Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic, the NBA team he co-founded in 1987. He has been involved in professional sports for more than 45 years and has been affiliated with NBA teams in Chicago, Atlanta and Philidelphia, including the 1983 World Champion 76ers. He is one of America's top motivational speakers and is the author of 45 books, including Go for the Magic, How to Be Like Jesus, The Paradox of Power, Coaching Your Kids to Be Leaders, The Warrior Within, and The Pursuit. Pat lives with his wife, Ruth, in Winter Park, Florida. He is the father of 19 children, including 14 adopted from 4 foreign countries.
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