This morning’s sermon at church was about Authority. Specifically the difference between Power and Authority and Jesus’ Authority (I’ll leave the explanation of Jesus’ Authority to Pastor Don, who taught this morning. You can view it here

What he taught on the differences between Power and Authority was astounding to me, specifically as a mom because, well, because I am a mom and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and am doing in my life. So I pretty much relate everything to being a mom and hold tightly to the concepts that help me.

Power. It’s intoxicating. Everyone wants Power. To be in charge. To not just be listened to, but obeyed. To have people even a little bit afraid of us. Power often equals money, fame, success, the ability to do what we want when we want, to have people do what we want when we want, not necessarily because THEY want to, but because WE want them to. Power says “obey me or else” and makes people afraid of not obeying.

And yet.

And yet Jesus was none of those things. First of all, he came from nothing and according to the world, he became nothing. He was not rich, nor was he famous. He constantly had people plotting to kill him so I would argue that he wasn’t successful either, nor did he have everybody doing what he wanted. And when he did have people doing what he wanted (laying down their life to follow and glorify God), it was by their own choice, because THEY wanted to, and it didn’t result in fame, money or success. Many of them were killed for following Jesus.

And yet.

And yet they did. Why? Because he was One who had Authority (Matthew 7:28-29). Authority is who a person is. Not what they have. Not the position they are in. Not how loud they talk. Not what they can do to you if you don’t obey them. It is simply who they are. Authority simply says “obey me because I said so” and here’s the kicker, makes people WANT to obey.

Now, on to the parenting aspect.

As a mom, I hold a position of power, at least up to a limit depending on the age of my child. I can “force” them into obedience by making their life miserable (that may simply mean time out for a young child or taking a teenager’s car away) and starting out with young kids, that’s how we often teach them, with physical means of discipline (by physical I don’t just mean spanking, I mean the time outs, taking objects or privileges away, etc.). But the physical act of discipline isn’t always going to work simply because I can’t always be there with the eyes in the back of my head, seeing everything they do.

This is where I pray my position of power (as ‘Mom’) has turned into one of authority. Perhaps my disciplining my children when they disobey now, while they are young, will grow into them choosing to obey my rules not because they don’t want to be grounded or have their car keys taken away, but because they want to. Not because they’re afraid I’ll see them or find out and discipline them. Not because they’re afraid of my power, but because they, dare I say it, respect me as one in authority? They choose to obey my rules simply because…..I said so. Gasp! The reason all of us hated to hear from our parents when we were kids. And yet it’s so true.

Submitting to authority is something we all deal with in all phases of our lives. As kids, as college students, as grown ups in the real world. We submit to our parents, to our teachers, to the government, to our bosses, to our spouses. My job as a parent is to teach them how to function in life, not just at the ages of 2 and 11 months, but as adults. It’s my job to teach them how to respect authority, to submit to it, to obey it. On the flip side, it’s also my job to teach them how to function when THEY are the ones who are in authority. When they are the bosses, the teachers, the parents.

The best way to do this is leading by example. Making sure I’m the type of authority figure that deserves respect, deserves obedience, deserves to have them want to follow in my footsteps. It takes love, it takes humbleness, it takes servanthood. It takes Jesus, the perfect example.

They deserve my best