I used to live on a houseboat on the River Thames in London. It was a great location for practising hospitality – my boatmates and I would throw parties, BBQs and dinners on a regular basis. The thing we did most regularly was hold ‘Boat Night’, which meant that every fortnight we would invite an eclectic group of people round for dinner. Whether it was an old friend or someone we’d just met, all were welcome at Boat Night. Although we could comfortably seat 6 around our table, we’d regularly make room for more. There was plenty of food, lots of laughter and we always seemed to manage to pull up another chair when we needed to.

As leaders we all have a seat at leadership tables where we have the influence or the power to pull up another chair. In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he writes to Timothy about the spirit of power that God has given to us as believers:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7

The word ‘power’ that’s used here in Greek is ‘dunamis’, which the English words dynamite, dynamo and dynamic are derived from. So Paul is talking here about dynamite power, about the kind of power that can only come from the Holy Spirit.

In his book ‘The Emotionally Healthy Leader’, Pete Scazzero talks about the different types of power someone can hold, such as positional power – the role we have; personal power – the gifts, skills, knowledge and opportunities we have; and relational power – who we’re in relationship with.

It’s easy to separate out Holy Spirit power and things like positional power or relational power as if God isn’t interested in all aspects of our lives, as if God doesn’t want to work through every part of everything we do. But you can’t leave the Holy Spirit at home while you go to work; you can’t just separate out

God’s power that lives inside you when you’re interacting with your family and friends!

Power is an interesting topic as it can often make people nervous; a key reason power can be off-putting is because too many people have misused it. All too often we hear stories of where people have abused their positions and used their power in a wrong way. But what is not talked about enough is the amount of times power is underused or unused – when people haven’t used their power for good, when those with influence have remained passive when they should have spoken up.

When we find ourselves with a seat at a leadership table there’s a risk of getting comfortable or even being hesitant when it comes to advocating for others to be around that same table. But God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear or timidity, He gives us a spirit of power – the power to live godly lives, the power to carry God’s presence wherever we go, the power to love others, the power to fight injustice, and the power to create a space for others.

The Holy Spirit gives us the power to use our influence not just for good but for God. So we can ask God to help us see the potential in others, to give us the courage to speak up for others, to help other people use their God-given leadership gifts, and to help us create a space at a leadership table for someone else.

Let’s not be satisfied with just having a seat at the table, let’s make sure we pull up another chair.