Daily Riches: The Often Misguided Urge for Power (Henri Nouwen)

“From the moment we set out on our climb to the top we make ourselves believe that striving for power and wanting to be of service are, for all practical purposes, the same thing. This fallacy is so deeply ingrained in our whole way of living that we do not hesitate to strive for influential positions in the conviction that we do so for the good of the Reign of God. …But the mystery of our ministry is that we are called to serve not with our power but with our powerlessness. It is through powerlessness that we can enter into solidarity with our fellow human beings, form a community with the weak, and thus reveal the healing, guiding, and sustaining mercy of God. …As followers of Christ, we are sent into the world naked, vulnerable, and weak, and thus we can reach our fellow human beings in their pain and agony and reveal to them the power of God’s love and empower them with the power of God’s Spirit. …The true challenge is to make service to our neighbor the manifestation and celebration of our total and undivided service to God. Only when all of our service finds its source and goal in God can we be free from the desire for power and proceed to serve our neighbors for their sake and not our own. …in serving God we find our true self which no longer needs social affirmations but is free to offer a powerless ministry.  …When we find ourselves able to continue to serve our fellow human beings even when … we have little or no power, we come to know ourselves as God knows us, as sons and daughters hidden in God’s love.” Henri Nouwen

“[Jesus] instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey,
except a mere staff – no bread, no bag, no money in their belt”
Mark 6:8

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you believe you must you be powerful to “be of service” to God?
  • How will you be in solidarity with needy people if not by weakness?
  • Are you willing to be personally weak to be effective for God? To depend only on the power God grants?

Abba, may I give up my little strength, which will only create barriers with others, and settle for the weakness that creates a powerful context of solidarity and effectiveness with the needy.

For More: The Selfless Way of Christ by Henri Nouwen


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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