published Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Faith Focus: The real meaning of power

By Pastor Bo Wagner

Several years ago, when our new church building was going up, my wife and I purchased a piece of heavy equipment, a Bobcat Skidsteer. We knew the church would need to make extensive use of one for a couple of years, so we bought one we could use.

It saved the church tens of thousands of dollars in rental bills and, as a bonus, I now have a really cool man toy.

This past Saturday, I was working with it at my house. We had an old swing set that we purchased 13 years ago when my son was very young. We anchored the posts in the ground with concrete to make sure it would be stable and safe. But now, long years later, it was simply rusted and bent.

Enter the fun.

I maneuvered my Bobcat into place and literally ripped the entire swing set out of the ground. Then I used its bucket to demolish the entire assembly, reducing it to a tiny pile of twisted, useless metal. Believe me, I enjoyed it far more than I remember the enjoyment of putting it together.

While I was engaging in my demolition duty, my son was mowing the yard. Each time he came near I looked over at him, and he had a huge grin from ear to ear and a look on his face that seemed to say, “That is so cool. Let me get on there and rip something apart, too.”

I grinned back at him and continued with my work/play. It was very clear that my son felt the same about power and destruction as I did in that moment.

And I daresay that most any boy/man would feel much the same. God has built a love of power into the male of our species. Let a man get near heavy equipment — a sledgehammer, a demolition derby — and we just seem to feel right at home.

And there lies a potential danger.

Power can be used either for constructive or destructive uses. And nowhere is that more true than in the home, with our wives, those precious creatures that God called “the weaker vessel.” Physically smaller and weaker than their husbands (normally) it is very easy for some men to behave in such a way as to harm to their wives. A raised voice, a menacing tone, harsh words, threats, a condescending attitude, physical violence, all are examples of power being put to the wrong use.

The Bible verse that calls the wife the weaker vessel is 1 Peter 5:7. It says: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

God’s command was for the bigger, stronger, louder spouse to “give honor” to his wife. The word “honor” means “to highly value, to treat as precious.” A man who hurts his wife physically or emotionally is disobeying the God who created marriage.

In all men there is the desire for power, and the inherent love of destructive power especially. I could see that in my son’s eyes as he passed by while mowing the yard. It is my hope that he has seen such tenderness in me toward his mother that he realizes real power is not found in destroying those who are weaker but in building them up.

Anyone can hurt people. It takes real strength to do the opposite.

Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books. His books are available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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