All forms of media are devoted to people in search of power.
Countries are at war, politicians wrestle for the upper hand and
criminals are caught trying to take what they want while
celebrities crowd each other out for the sake of publicity. We feel
more and more disconnected from these stories about people in
search of power.
Take war, for instance. It isn't as though we aren't familiar
with this ultimate power struggle. Many of us were born during
World War II. A few years later, we sat beside our parents and
listened to radio reports about the conflict in Korea. Vietnam came
along just in time to steal from our graduating class. The Persian
Gulf took some of our sons and daughters.
Today some of us are old enough to have grandchildren still
fighting in dangerous places. Is it any wonder we want to remove
ourselves from conflicts involving people in search of this kind of
Perhaps the reasons the elderly aren't seen marching off to war
may be more spiritual than physical. We have seen enough to
understand that power, taken by force, can be quickly taken by
someone else. The stories of Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein and so
many others who took as much power as they could are part of our
own living history.
In this half of life, we have made a shift from searching for
power to learning what it means to be people of a different kind of
power. We are more interested in the power of love that fills
people without taking anything from them. We would rather be
remembered as having the heart of Mother Teresa than the ability of
In fact, even some of those with power enough to have daily
coverage in most papers are beginning to understand the difference
between having power and being power-full people. Bill Gates and
Warren Buffet have earmarked much of their wealth to address the
needs of the powerless. The U2 singer Bono has used his fame as
leverage to focus on the needs of the poor in Africa.
The most power-full people use whatever they have been given to
transform lives of the powerless. That can mean anything from
donating billions to faithfully serving in a food pantry.
Those who seek personal, earthly power consume whatever they
want without regard for the needs of others. Power-full people
overflow with the love of God and delight in emptying themselves
for the sake of others. Filled with an inexhaustible supply of
God's love, they need little and give away much.
Who are the ones calling us to this kind of power today? Who do
we listen to with more attention than the evening news? For many of
our generation, our grandchildren are the ones calling us to become
people filled with God's power. For their sake, we continue to pray
for a world based on the power of love.