With Great Power…by Christopher Mack

Formations Leadership

Scripture: Acts 13:1-3, 13-14, 44-52

With Great Power…

“With great power comes great responsibility”

The Spider-Man film franchise engrained this onto my psyche. We aren’t given powers and gifts to make much of ourselves. Our power and privilege is to be used to invite others into justice and to have a seat at the table.

We see the struggle with power in the biblical story.

There was a Saul in the Hebrew Bible, a King from the tribe of Benjamin, who found his prominence paling in comparison to the emergence of a young shepherd boy. “Saul has slain his thousands and David  his tens of thousands,” became the trending hashtag of the day. King Saul from the tribe of Benjamin was vexed and frustrated.

There was a Saul in the Book of Acts, a pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin, who found his prominence growing in comparison to his experienced mentor, Barnabas. “Barnabas and Paul,” became “Paul and Barnabas.” Though the two seemed to handle this transition with grace, eventually they had a falling out over the leadership of John Mark.

Shared leadership is essential to being the Body of Christ. We are all reminded that we have different gifts and serve the community of faith in unique and vital ways. We see in Acts how the followers of Christ through fasting, worship, and prayer were able to discern God’s leadership in setting aside Barnabas and Saul for the work to which God had called them. They were an effective dynamic duo.

Paul and Barnabas were so effective that many of their fellow Jewish brothers and sisters became jealous of their ministry. Rather than being deterred by this development, they see the opportunity to reach out to the non-Jewish community. This will become a hallmark for their ministry.

Power and prominence are hard to handle. We not only see that in the lives of biblical stories, but in our own. We place leaders in politics, entertainment, athletics, business, and church up on pedestals. We imagine they are supermen and wonder women. Then when we realize they struggle with all of our same inconsistencies, flaws, and insecurities, we are deflated, frustrated, and disillusioned.

Christopher Mack