The Gift of Power

May 2014

Power is a tricky thing.  It is not often that I think of the concept of power as a “gift”. As residents of one of the most powerful countries in the world, how are Americans called to respond to the inherent financial, political and social power that we all have?

One of my favorite answers to this question comes from author Andy Crouch.  In his Q talk (embedded below), he offers three truths about power that help me think about and respond to the power that we all inherently have.  Those truths are:

  1. Power is made for multiplication: Power is truly a force for good when it is given away and multiplies for the benefit of all.
  2. Humans tend to misuse power in order to create false idols.
  3. Those who create false idols often become idols themselves.


Crouch poignantly describes poverty in his talk as “someone playing god in the life of someone else”.

For me, this puts into very sharp focus the importance of empowerment in relation to our work with poverty both in the US and abroad.  Instead of dictating life change and lording over those with less socio-economic and social power, we must instead partner with them in empowering them.  When you think about power being multiplied, there is no better example than social, economic, and spiritual empowerment!

How can you use your power (financial, social, political) to empower others?