"May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David what the Lord has sworn to him. To transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba."
II Samuel 3: 9-10, Amplified Bible
"Following The Power"
"Nothing will so avail to divide...as love of power."
Have I ever tried to acquire power so I could dominate another person?
Has someone tried to rule my life by the force of their power?
"In order to obtain and hold power a man (or woman) must love it. Thus the effort to get it is not likely to be coupled with goodness, but with the opposite qualities of pride, craft, and cruelty."
"Entirely too much has been said in most churches about the stewardship of money and too little about the stewardship of power."
He had been King Saul's loyal army leader. And after Saul's untimely death in battle, Abner chose to continue to support the rulership of the House of Saul, even though, our text today informs us that Abner was aware God had chosen to give the crown to the House of David.
For seven and a half years, hitching his wagon to the power of the House of Saul, seemed to be working out just fine for Abner. The Ashurites and the people of Jezreel, along with Ephraim, Benjamin, and all Israel followed Abner's lead and chose Ishbosheth as their king, too.
But one day, the worm turned. Ishbosheth decided to betray the very person who was responsible for his power surge. Abner's name was trashed, a vicious rumor was started and a good friend quickly became a hated enemy.
The Bible makes it clear that Abner knew full-well that David was God's anointed king -- the anointed chosen to follow King Saul. But he looked over the landscape and obviously felt that by throwing his support with Ishbosheth he would be yielded a powerful position. But when his plan backfired, we find that rather than show any loyalty to the House of Saul, Abner quickly threatened to turn on his former friend and instead joined forces with his former foe.
If you read a lot of world history, you'll find this isn't a unique technique. Armies and even countries jump ranks trying to maneuver into positions where they feel they can wield more power. In politics and business enterprises, skills of power grabbing are honed in order to get ahead. And sad to say, I've seen the same brutal power struggle to be on top and control by any means necessary, take root in church environments, as well.
I'll never forget having a friend share a story with me about a church finance committee she chaired. She was interested in adding new members to the group and so she interviewed several potential members when one of the individuals asked her, "Who really holds the power in this church?" It was a question she wasn't expecting and one that as she told me later, "Surprised her beyond all she could imagine."
I began our "Inspiration" today with what I consider to be a profound quote by Harvey Cox and it's worth repeating: "Entirely too much has been said in most churches about the stewardship of money and too little about the stewardship of power."
The word "stewardship" is defined as, "the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care." Historically, "stewards" were individuals responsible for taking care of something owned by someone else. In a spiritual setting, this meaning focused on money since the Bible teaches that the earth and all that is in it belongs to God.
A wise and responsible use of the money that has been entrusted to each person is at the heart of the principle of Christian stewardship. But it is rare to hear the same teachings which focus on the use of our money applied to the way we as humans choose to use our power. Often we have the mistaken idea our personal power comes by tapping into the earthly power we perceive in another person.
Yet, Carlo Carretto correctly puts this notion to rest when he explains that, "We are the wire, God is the current." And he continues bringing clarity to this idea of power when he notes, "Our only power is to let the current pass through us."
Any perceived human power is false, indeed. I can think I'm in charge. I can even act like I'm in charge. But may we never forget these words in Psalm 97: 1 (Amplified Bible), "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice." Too bad Abner forgot who was in charge when he thought he could hook up to earthly power and become a big deal. Let's never make the same mistake!
"The greatness of a man (or woman's) power is the measure of (her) surrender."
William Booth, Founder
How do I spend my time
away in caring how
to get ungodly wealth,
and fret myself to sweat,
as if Thou Lord hadst
meant this clay no
after life, no reckoning day.
What graceless fool would love
(her) earth so, as with all
(her) might to pamper with
delight the same against right,
Forgetting (her) divine soul's birth
was nobler, and of greater worth?
Thou Lord didst frame this soul
of mine only to honour Thee,
Not basely fond to be of vanity,
Unflesh (me) then, and so refine
(me) Lord (I) may be all divine.
Quicken my dull-drooping spirit
that (I) may praise Thy name,
Cleanse (me) from sin and blame,
Take from (me) shame
Grant that by my Saviour's merit
Eternity (I) may inherit.
Let (me) not groveling lie pressed
down with earth, but mount,
and gain an everlasting reign,
Let (me) retain no dross, and when (I)
shall have thrown (my)
cover off, grant (me) a crown."
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus is available where Christian books are sold. They can also be purchased through Paypal at www.transformationgarden.com or by calling our office toll-free at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.