1 Corinthians 9:18
“What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.”
Power and position is a privilege, not a right. The Apostle Paul totally understood this principle when he said, “…I abuse not my power in the gospel.” He understood why he had the power he had, and he understood Who gave him this power. Paul’s desire was always to keep his power and position in proper perspective.
Nothing damages people more than a leader who abuses their position and power. Many Christians have walked out of the church doors never to return because someone used their position and power to attack. Whether or not it is a good excuse for that person never to return is not the issue we are discussing. The issue we are discussing is that it is a fact that many have become bitter and quit serving the LORD because of abusive power. My friend, too many souls are at risk for anyone to use their position and power for personal gain. For the sake of the Gospel, everyone needs to be sure to understand the privilege of holding the position given to them by God and using the power of that position rightfully. The verse above shows several symptoms of abusive power.
First, abusive power uses position for personal gain. Paul made it clear that he didn’t want to use his position for “charge.” Any position you hold is not so that you can use it to see what you can get out of the people. It is wrong for position to use their power to fleece those underneath them for personal gain. It can be easy to enjoy the gifts people give more than enjoying and loving those who give the gift. Be careful not to use your position for personal gain.
Second, abusive power uses power to attack. Paul understood his power, and he was careful not to abuse it. Just because someone crosses you doesn’t give you a right to use your position and power to attack them personally or to attempt to destroy them. It is evil to use position and power to attack those whom you lead. Certainly, you must use your position and power to defend truth, but don’t twist the truth to attack others so that you can defend your opinion.
Third, abusive power uses position to build their legacy. Paul knew that his position was all about getting the Gospel to the lost. Just because you have position doesn’t give you a right to build your “legacy.” My friend, the ministry is not about you or your family name, it is about the name of Christ. If family and friends are the best ones to fill a position, great; but be careful about using position to build your legacy by keeping people in positions to help you build that legacy.
Fourth, abusive power uses position to push personal agendas other than the Gospel. God didn’t give you position to push your personal agenda. You were entrusted with that position to push His agenda, which is getting the Gospel to the lost. The best leader is the one who lays aside their agendas and picks up and pushes Christ’s agenda.
Christian, be careful to use position and power to build those beneath you, and never use them to build your power or legacy so that you are magnified. If you keep this mindset, you will never find yourself abusing any power or position you acquire. Always remember that your ultimate purpose should be to point people to Jesus Christ.