Of all the temptations that men face, the temptation of power is the one that scrubs up the best. No-one can deny the lure of sex and money, but it’s a lot harder to make your interest in those look noble. But power? Well, who doesn’t want to change the world for the better? Who doesn’t want to use their influence for good, to improve the lot of the downtrodden common man? Who doesn’t secretly believe that although power corrupts, it won’t corrupt me?
I don’t know if it was what Tolkien intended, but his One Ring is a fine metaphor of what power can do to us. No matter how well-intentioned, how noble the goal, taking hold of the One Ring is to invite corruption. Handling power wisely requires a certain strength of character. I’ve already quoted Martyn Lloyd-Jones in a previous blog, but his insightful comment bears repeating: “The worst thing that can happen to a man is for him to succeed before he is ready.”
Power gives you influence over other bearers of God’s image. This is a delicate and weighty responsibility. If you wield power then your feet should permanently be bare, for you are always on holy ground. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not proud, it is not self-seeking. Love always protects.
Why do you think that the meek will be the ones to inherit the earth? Who else would God trust with it?
When it comes to me, most worship leaders are up against it from the start. I have no musical talent myself, and therefore little appreciation of the skill required to play the handful of chords that most worship songs seem to employ. Neither am I a big fan of the contemporary worship style – on the whole, I like my music to have a little more edge. Furthermore, I’ve suffered over six years of formal theological training, so find myself hyper-critical of and disappointed by the content of most lyrics. Finally, many more years of hard yards in following Jesus, and trying to help others to follow Jesus, has resulted in me having nothing but contempt for the shallow, I-feel-pretty-good-about-God-right-now sentiment of many worship songs.
However, whenever I find myself drifting too far down the path of seething rage, I remember what C.S. Lewis said. He too struggled with the church music of his time, considering it fifth-rate poetry set to sixth-rate music, but he also wrote, “I realised that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”
Hard as it is to believe sometimes, not everything is about me.