Authority is illusory and intoxicating.

“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant …” -Mk.10:42,43

In this fallen world power means ruling and exercising authority over those under you, a “power-trip.” In God’s world authority means serving others. All authority and rule over others must never be “lording it over” but instead a humble serving empowered by the authority of the One who commissioned the “ruler.”

I seem to remember a motto on a police car that read: To Serve And Protect. A perfect illustration. The city confirms upon the person the authority to represent and enforce the law but the motto reminds both officer and citizen that the police are called to protect and serve. So… if I have any authority my focus must be to protect and serve.

Very few can handle authority well. Authority has a tendency to go to your head. Our fallen nature becomes intoxicated with the ability to tell others what to do. Someone once said “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But it doesn’t take absolute power to corrupt. Even a small amount of power is potentially dangerous.

We love to be in control and to control. But we are never completely in control and can never totally control everything or everyone. So power is a illusory and intoxicating. Every pastor’s ordination certificate should include the words “To Serve and Protect.”