Misuse of power and position destroys trust and can have disastrous results. We can learn from the case study of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, in 2 Chronicles 10.
Rehoboam succeeded his father as king after the death of Solomon. The Israelites came to the new King with a request. “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” (v4) Rehoboam asked the people to return in three days and sought advice from the elders and his peers.
The elders said, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” (v7) This wise advice demonstrates foresight.
His peers said, “Tell the people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter” – tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” (v11-12) They were prideful, rude and unkind.
It was said that “The king answered [the people] harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, he followed the advice of the young men.” (v13) Instead of responding to people’s reasonable request, Rehoboam chose to show the people “who the boss was”, using his power and authority as a weapon to punish them.
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Rehoboam must not have studied the words of Solomon diligently. As a result, the kingdom was torn into two and ultimately Rehoboam lost his ability to lead.
What would Jesus do (WWJD)? Contrary to a passion for power and position is a spirit of service, humility, flexibility, and cooperation. The attributes of a servant-leader can be grouped in three clusters of serve, lead, and build. These clusters can be further defined by various characteristics https://www.capcl.edu.hk/community/#characteristics. Let us…
- Serve with listening, empathy, and healing
- Lead through mindfulness, persuasion, foresight, big-picture planning, and stewardship
- Build a community with a growth mindset