Election fever is gripping us again. About seventy-six so far have signified their intention to run for president after filing their certificates of candidacy. Nowhere in the world have you seen that so many number of people aspire for the highest position in the land. Knowing the magnitude of the responsibility that awaits the winner, you can’t also imagine how these people could have thought how to solve the so-many problems affecting our country. From graft and corruption to urban migration, environmental degradation, energy problems, traffic, etc. all sorts of problems abound. Add to that the worsening gap between the rich and the poor. And yet, many would want to become president and it makes one wonder why. This is only for the position of president, so many others are running in other posts as well. Does solving these issues grappling our country and people seem easy to them?
Running for public office — is it really about public service that interests them? Or is it about lust for power, prestige or protection of business interests?
Even in our personal lives, there are instances that we are tempted to show our power over others. When we are put in a tight situation, the temptation to prevail over others is so big that if we are impatient, we may cave in to arrogance and pride. We may want to show others “who is the boss” here!
In the Gospel, the disciples were quarreling among themselves when two of them, James and John asked the Lord for the privilege of sitting at His left and at His right when He comes in glory. Jesus has to remind them that “…whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10: 35-45)
The concept of greatness according to the Lord is very different from the world’s. The world teaches power, but Jesus teaches meekness. The world teaches pride, but the Lord teaches humility. The world teaches domination, but Jesus teaches service.
Even those in the circle of Jesus were not spared the wrong concept of greatness. Just like the typical men of today, the disciples also desired power, authority and fame. Note that Jesus also fought and became victorious over these things when He was tempted in the desert for forty days. When the two disciples James and John sought the privilege of sitting beside the Lord in glory, their hidden desires were brought out into the open. But the example and credibility of Jesus prevailed when He taught them the real meaning of power and authority. The reason must be for love and humble service.
This is the challenge for those in government — including those who desire to be there — that these positions require the authentic humility to serve. There is no other way to serve the people who has entrusted the president to ensure proper management of food supply and security, health, safety, shelter and other needs, than humble service. The president and other high-ranking officials must remember, that they will ultimately be responsible to God for the millions entrusted to them.
May the Lord teach us how to handle power and authority when given the privilege. In moments of temptation, may the Lord grant us to be worthy vessels of His power and strength.