Abraham Lincoln made the following quote; nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
This statement is very insightful and so very true. We all know people in our personal lives that were given a new title or new position and they allowed it to change them. It is almost comical but it happens often in churches. A person is asked to serve as a committee chairman and the next thing you know, he starts acting like he is the state Governor. Ha. Abraham Lincoln was right on point when he said that one of the greatest tests of a person’s character is how they handle leadership.
Some years ago, one the congressmen from Georgia was a personal friend of mine. His name was Mack Collins. I talked with Mack one day and told him I wanted to come to Washington and hang out with him for a day. We set it up and I show up at the Congressional office buildings in Washington and tell them I was there to meet with Mack Collins. After I had a prostate exam (ha) they allowed in the building. As I was walking to Mack’s office I passed the congressional offices for many states and I was struck with the feeling of power that oozed from every hallway. Mack was the real deal who didn’t let a title or position change who he was. When he left congress, he was the same man as when he began. Not everyone I met that day could say that.
Over the years in Georgia, we have elected some dozes for congress. I won’t name names, but several served some jail time for illegal activity, embezzlement and various other sundry infractions. Why? They just could not handle being given authority. Two of which I now speak of, were there that day and the impression you instantly got being around them was that they were arrogant, pompous and had let the power of an elected office cloud who they were. They both failed in their reelection campaigns and both were investigated by the authorities.
I remember Mack took me into meetings at the capital and I had the opportunity to watch and listen from the sidelines. It is the only place I have ever heard that much money being talked about and it was easy to see how that could change someone. As with every organization from a church to a gym, there are people who didn’t let leadership change who they were and then there are ones that just couldn’t handle a position of authority.
I remember before I left, I was in Mack’s private office and he had a plaque on his desk that read “Be Real.” That is a perfect Image to all of us to remember. Just be who we are. Even in the bible, God warned people to respect and honor the position he had given them. Many times they didn’t listen and he had to replace them with someone else who would still listen and not get lost in a position of power or authority.
So I suppose Mack Collins’s little desk plaque is good instruction for us to remember. Be Real. KT