When you hear the phrase power-up, what images immediately spring to your mind? Do you see negative images? Benign images? Positive images? What does power-up mean to you? Today, we often see examples of people "powering-up" on one another. Just turn on one of the 24- hour news channels and there are plenty of examples. Most of the programming caters to a particular point of view; some left and some right. In an ingenuine effort to "present both sides," there is usually someone “from the other side” invited into the discussion. Usually, this person is there to provide the host and their other like-minded guests the opportunity to "power-up," thus representing the superiority of their positions. Now, I am not supporting or advocating for either side here. This behavior happens on programs that cater to the left as well as those that cater to the right. Also, this is not a new phenomenon with the advent of 24-hour news channels. However, I do believe that the constant barrage of this behavior in those forums has impacted how we, as a society, treat one another. Add to that the anonymity that comes from social media and the power-up mentality multiplies. And that leads me to what I want to share today. How, then, should we treat one-another?
I want to revisit the concept of Servanthood that I introduced a couple of posts back (see "I want it all - I want it now!" posted March 17, 2021). In that post, I proposed that servanthood was the opposite of pridefulness. And now, I propose that powering-up on others is a symptom of that same pridefulness. To be prideful is defined as having an excessively high opinion of oneself. A lot of people believe that power flows from pride or that pridefulness comes from a place of extreme security in oneself. However, what I have found is just the opposite. In most cases, pridefulness flows from insecurities and it is a reaction that is an attempt to hold on to power. So, if pridefulness is an attempt to hold on to power, where does real power flow from?
I contend that real power flows to those who can humble themselves and become a servant. Let us unpack this a bit. Step one is humility. Some view humility in a negative way, seeing humility as having a modest or low view of one’s importance. But that is not what humility is all about. Humility is about being free from pride or arrogance. It is not a low view of oneself, but rather an appropriate view of oneself. Appropriate in that you recognize that all humans have worth and that your views, opinions, and needs are no more important or valid than the views, opinions, and needs of others. The posture of humility instantly opens you up to truly hear other people - hear their views, opinions and needs. It is the opposite of the power-up posture, where you pounce with what you believe to be superior or right. Once we learn to be humble and hear one another, step two is to take action to serve one another. Have you ever heard the expression that people do not care how much you know before they know how much you care? Well, that little axiom is true! Servanthood is a posture of caring, and it is impossible to know what to care for if you have not taken the time to listen. So, to be a servant, you must be willing to humble yourself (that is, have an appropriate view of self), listen for the needs of others, and then actually do something as an act of service to help meet their needs. Do you get it? Just think of it like a AAA battery:
1. Appropriate view of self, leads to
2. Ability to hear others, leads to
3. Action on behalf of others
The AAA Way leads to true power. Power that is given, not taken. Power that is earned, not assumed. Power that is beautiful, not ugly. Power that will endure. Power that is true. Power that can change the world!
So, this week’s challenge is to pursue servanthood with a humble heart. You will find that this new version of powering-up, using the AAA Way, will result in you being a bright light wherever you are – in school or work, church or the PTA, at home or on the T-ball field. Be the light that only a servant can be!