There is a myth that never seems to disappear. We, myself included, think corporate managers have mythical levels of authority. In my mind, each role comes with a description and mandate that includes authority. This authority translates into action. Action that always seems to be for my benefit. As I reflect on this myth, I realize that it extends into every position that has influence or authority over me. I read wisdom literature and hear that “in a marriage relationship, there is authority from Christ to husband, and from husband to wife. The authority of Christ is the authority of God.” (1 Corinthians 11.3, 4)
The story that builds in my mind always breaks down in a practical way. Positions with authority rarely act in ways that benefit me! It they had authority, I should benefit but I do not, so where is the authority?
I cannot speak to God but I can respond to the questions presented about the level of authority I have, especially in the corporate world. Authority is more than a mandate. Mandates and role descriptions describe a position. Authority is born in the ideas that one embraces in that position. One must bring something to the table. Without ideas, there is no foundation to act. They do not need to be original ideas. Embracing the best ideas is fair game. One’s authority is reflected in the truth and power that comes from the ideas that one acts on in the role.
As much as I expect things from others, I have come to see that the myth is born or dies in me. When I act on truth, I have truth-filled authority. There are other kinds of authority that can last for a season. A good idea (truth filled) never dies.
We are empowered to act. We have authority within us. It is born in our freedom. It lives in the choices and decisions we make. In others, I have the authority to support and the freedom to understand when they struggle with life. Authority is an opportunity available to everyone.