Have you ever considered that we (mankind) have a problem with power?
In Tolkien’s fairy tales Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, the primary topic of each is the quest to defeat an evil would-be-lord’s attempt to own all power. In reflection it seems to me that the one ‘thing’ man strives for perhaps more than anything else is power. In some cases it is the quest for power, in others it’s the display of power that fuels our economy and our lives.
Power in all its forms is inextricably linked with pride. We take pride in ourselves when we can exhibit power over ourselves, others, and our possessions. In today’s society many consider power to be a positive thing, such as in being the ‘Master of Our Own Destiny.’
But we are only kidding ourselves if we think power and/or its pursuit is a good thing.
It is power that fueled Lucifer’s quest for God’s throne; power of knowledge that induced Eve to pick up the apple. Often, it’s the pursuit of power that drives men and women in the workforce to climb the corporate ladder, run for office, or own a business. Power is the reason people rape, murder, and abuse other people. It’s power that drives countries to depossess other people of their property and lands.
Look around our world today and one way or another most of us are trying to exhibit power in our individual lives. It is this real quest to own and/or utilize power and its resident co-evil pride that utterly destroys man. It abases us as we try to elevate ourselves to preeminence above God.
Even in our games it’s all about power. The Massively Multiplayer Online-Role Playing Game (MMORPG), The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar the players have characters that achieve “levels”. Each level exhibits its own “power”. When fighting a “bad guy” one looks at their own level and compares it to the “bad guy’s” level to see who has the most “power.” In the Lord of Rings Trivial Pursuit game power is exhibited by knowing more than the other players. These forms of power would seem innocuous at worst. After all, we all enjoy them.
Back to Tolkien’s heroes… they were humble, and this humility gives us (the reader) a sense that their attitude was just and right. In all my readings I’ve not found even one person who expressed that these heroes were stupid or foolish. I don’t think we could understand that it’s better to be humble than to pursue power in and of or for ourselves. We should consider where our sense of morality (right and wrong) comes from. This is an excellent example of myth containing truth.
I agree with Tolkien, that only Divinity has the right to own and exhibit power. Jesus said he is sitting at the right hand of Power. That tells us clearly that it is God who has the right to power. Jesus also said he has all authority… that IS power… real power.
We are creatures not The Creator. If we focus on God first and foremost as we ought and humble ourselves to Him and His guidance He will demonstrate power on our behalf. What a wonderful, peaceful position to be in…. That where The Creator takes care of us (of me)…
On humility… God tells us to, “… consider others as better than [ourselves]..” Christ said, “No greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for a friend.” We’re also told that the second commandment is “… to love others as we love ourselves.” These actions keep us humble and defeat the quest for power… humility and power are mutually exclusive…
I need to learn to be more humble!