T.G.I.F. – Power Play

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People play power games in the marketplace to get promoted or obtain some benefits. Others play the games because they can; they have the power. Some of those games are evil and dangerous. These power plays are based on the philosophy of zero-sum game where the winner takes it all.

Everyone wants to be upwardly mobile. Everyone who puts in a tender wants to be the one to get it. Everyone wants his/her client account to look the best. Everyone wants and fights for the best opportunities at work. That is how jealousy and misuse of power comes in. They say politics can be dirty…that is true in the office as well. Things can get very nasty.

What politics have you experienced or seen at work?

Office politics and power plays are a reality. Politics is about who gets what, when and how. At the office, there are politics around promotion, who takes a certain trip, who services what client, who gets the best office, what pay one gets, who goes for what function, etc.

As a housewife, there are politics of what your contribution is and how money is allocated. As an entrepreneur, how you get a contract or business. As a media person, how your work is prioritized and whether you work gets airtime. As a teacher, what classes and trips you get to take. As a public servant, who gets an opportunity to travel or take a course?

In some offices you have power brokers. If they don’t like you, you are up against the wall. Life will be difficult. Some know the tactics of survival – kiss up and kick down. They do very little but they know how to catch the eye and the ear of the boss. A few will even make offers to those in power for some benefits or control.

Managers misuse power to favor their cronies and punish their perceived enemies. They seek for some bribe in whatever form before they act in a certain way.

People can be so mean it’s appalling. Some even go to the occult or secret societies to ensure they survive the power games. Bribery, sex and sycophancy are common tools in winning and maintaining power.

Amazingly, the Bible has something to say about office politics. Let us go back to Daniel and see how he handled a situation at work.

Daniel 6

  • [They ganged up against Daniel to get rid of him. They were jealous because his star was rising. They could not sit back and watch a foreigner climb higher and higher in the administration] There is hostility in the marketplace. Expect dirty politics in any organization or setting. The prince of this world is active in the marketplace.
  • [They could not get anything against Daniel; he was clean. No corruption, no negligence, no injustice or unfairness] Work with such excellence that you will be above reproach – performance, relationships, time management, etc. Many Christians would not pass this test. Mediocrity is a poor reflection of the Kingdom of God – the God who created the solar system and the human system. Excellence is not perfection; it is a commitment to give it your best.
  • [Daniel knew how to handle power plays, he went to the God of all power. We do not see him complaining or trying to fight back.] Turn to God for power, wisdom and help. When you fight at the level of everyone, you become one of them. You are of a superior culture. We fight differently.

 The one lesson we learn from Daniel’s story is: Pursue excellence and trust God to fight for you.

Are you under attack at work? Does someone pick on you? Has a mean boss denied you promotion? Are there cliques against you? Has a colleague made it his or her business to block you from going up the ladder? Are you even under investigation for malicious claims against you? Take it easy. Remember who you are – son or daughter of the King of Kings. Just pursue excellence and trust God to fight for you.

Many of us here are in management. You exercise some power over people. You are a team or business leader. President George Bush snr said, “The only justifiable use of power is to bless others.” If you are a supervisor, treat others fairly. Promote those who deserve it. You are a steward of God and God is interested in how you use it. Do not use fear and manipulation to lead your team. Do your work with excellence and let God fight your battles.

As you climb the ladder and gain favor, some will fight you. Some might even go to fetch some power from Zanzibar or Kitui to stop you. There are insecure and wicked people around you. But remember, whatever your rank, pursue excellence and trust God to fight for you. Do your part and represent God well.

Here is some advice as you deal with office politics:

Faithfulness: Work hard. Meet your targets. Respect your boss. Be faithful in what God has entrusted you with. Promotion comes from the Lord, and his standard is faithfulness. In the parable of the talents, the first two were promoted for being faithful with what the master had given them. If you are faithful in your current position or role, God will place more into your hands. Do it as unto God, he is your boss… [purse excellence]

Fight fair: Do not hate or revenge. Do not be drawn into dirt. Don’t carry emotional baggage like resentment. Daniel could have fought dirty. What you have done if you were in his shoes? Find dirt on the ringleaders, form cliques as well, get back at them when the dust settles! There is good and bad politics. Bad politics is unfair, mean, manipulative, and selfish. It undermines and undercuts. It’s driven by ill intent or ill motive. Good politics may include networking, presenting your case to others to see your side, silence, asking those who know you to defend you, positive lobbying and gracious confrontation.

Faith in God: God put you there; he will protect you. Daniel did not defend himself but God fought for him. Allow God to step in. Do what you have to do but remember the battle belongs to the Lord. Give him a chance to show off. He did that for Daniel. He rescued him and ashamed his accusers in public. God may choose to do a marketplace miracle to vindicate you, or he may use the situation to take you elsewhere. God is sovereign in whatever outcome. Trust his intervention or lack of it.

God is calling us to be good stewards of power and position. To represent God in what we do. To ensure that our workplaces are havens of peace, fairness, justice and love. To reduce or eliminate office toxicity fueled by dirty power plays.

What is God specifically asking you to do?

Do you have an excellence challenge that you need to responds to? Performance, time management, relationships, use of power, or values as we mentioned last week? Pursue excellence.

Do find yourself having to defend your position because of people who hate you and are out for your skin? Fight fair. Show what you are made of.

Do you need to put your faith in God and trust his process? Are you feeling like God has abandoned you at work and let others victimize you? Are you even mad with God for seeming non-intervention? Have faith in God. He is Great, and he is Good.

Like Daniel, pursue excellence and trust God to fight for you.

If we took this lesson seriously, lots of places in this city would become better workplaces. Less people would need to go to hospital because of work stress. Many relationships at work would improve. More smiles and peace would be found at the work place. And more would get done.

All this would happen as God’s people, the fearless, pursue excellence and trust God to fight for them.

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5 Responses to “T.G.I.F. – Power Play”

  1. hi am a public servant and ave worked in the power sector (is i say where everyone will just know) for 9 yrs. during this time i have increased my education and papers but one thing is for sure getting a course out of the country is a nightmare, even placing me in the proper position is looked down upon. ave resorted to just letting go en letting God, since either way the paycheck is good enough and God has given me the wisdom to use the knowledge i acquired in school to invest wisely, but those issues really put me down. right now we expect promotions but again my name has been struck off the list, please pray that this situation may change.

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  2. Pastor S this Sermon on Power play ministered to me a great deal. This year began uphill for me -of late my place of work has been toxic to say the least. With power gangs forming, (they even call themselves the Mafia) power games and a lot of kissing ass (forgive my French) being the order of the day. To be honest the book of Daniel has always been by guide during such moments and I have always managed to get by. But this time round I feel so overwhelmed, helpless and alone at times. It is not easy to stand for what is right while the majority thrive on Kickbacks and “deals” and see you as a barrier, they will do all manner of things to frustrate you by false accusation, misuse of the grape vine to miss align your name etc. it has been said if you can’t beat them join them – You see if you don’t you become the villain……..Nevertheless I stand encouraged and know for sure that the battle belongs to God (he always comes through he has never let me down)

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  3. Rejuvenated Surgeon Says:

    Wow! Don’t know where to start. I work in the healthcare business. Work long hours up to 36 hours straight without sleep trying to save lives here and there. Many times am down to my knees with exhaustion, so tired to pray even for myself and feeling down and out. The work place is not any better; senior colleagues doing less but expecting more out of those junior to them. And when something goes wrong and a patient complicates, they are first to point a finger at their junior colleagues. It is quite hard to stay here but I pray each day that God uses me to change this place. It usually feels like am fighting alone. Everyone looking down on you because I want to change the status quo. Many times I want to quit but there is a passion in me that burns and makes me know that I have a role to make a change here. Just like Daniel, I will not give up on being excellent. I will trust in God and let Him fight the battle as I give the devil no reason to find a fault in me. Thank you Pastor S. I will fight the good fight and finish the race victorious

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  4. Dear pastor Simon

    The lord bless you for that sermon because it would not have come at a better time. I work for a christian NGO… You would think things run smoothly there but I tend to think that powerplay and politics is worse in such organizations than anywhere else because its all on the name of Jesus.

    My supervisor… Just to make things PG rated is just very difficult and she is always right even when she is terribly wrong on some things. She is pushy and traples on everyone without feeling anything about it. Our department works odd hours and odd says at times and upto now.. Sunday mornings were a no no. As I write this we are to have a meeting on friday to discuss working on Sundays all day… Yet this is comany tht is Christian in all rights and aspects.

    I hate having such meetings becuse she will bulldoze her way through it and as I have described above she will be right and we and my coleagues end up feeling hurt and not listened to on the end. Please Pastor Simon help us pray for this situation because this issue touches on a lot of things and is close to everyones heart. More than ever we need God to come through for us and fight for us in that situation.

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  5. I cannot even start to explain how fundamental this series is!For sometime i have watched how sad my boss was due to the negative impact of power play where ‘because i can comes into play! As pastor S ministered, i smiled cause i knew my bosses life at work was going to get easier! its not an easy thing trying to lead a team who watch each day as your superior demeans you! i think for my boss not having the courage to fight fair was the issue, with a meek smile she would swallow the pain of her superior making her feel small in front of all of us. i looked forward to Monday morning and couldn’t wait to share the amazing sermon…her face lit up with Joy and she said…wow Brenda,that is powerful! Now she smiles, now she is peaceful because she knows even if the lion bites ,the grace of God is sufficient!

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