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Left-Handed Power

Daily Reading: John 6


Scripture Focus: Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6.15)


Devotional Thought: I find it ironic that the people wanted to force Jesus to be their king. How can you force a ruler to rule? How can you force someone with the power of Jesus to do anything? But, that is the way of the world, isn't it? The world's kingdoms operate by force. The Kingdom of God operates in a different way. "Martin Luther called it 'left-handed' power. Right-handed power consists of the blatant demonstration of power over people. Left-handed power is the quiet demonstration of power in people..." (Larry Crabb, Soul Talk).


Politicians and interest-groups, employers and unions, pundits and ideologues - all exercise right-handed power. Threatening reprisal, withholding support, marching in protest, and shouting down speakers are all right-handed power-grabs. It is very disturbing to see this type of behavior multiplying in our society. But, it is all the more disturbing when we see that kind of power-wielding in the Church.


Jesus exercised left-handed power. He didn't clamor for attention. Instead, he withdrew by himself. He didn't force people to follow him. Instead, he invited them. He didn't insist on respect. Instead, he insisted on the right, leaving his reputation in God's hands. He didn't demand service. Instead, he served.


How do you handle power? Are you left-handed or right-handed?


Prayer: Jesus, ultimate power is in your hands. Help us to hold your hand, becoming like you more and more every day, laying down our lives so that others may enter your Kingdom. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 34.8-14

8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

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