In Los Angeles, status is about fame. In New York City, your status is determined by your bank account and how much money you have.
Washington, D.C. is different. Here, status is all about power. The power to influence decisions and processes. Having money is not so important; it is about the power to direct money where you want it to go. Being famous yourself is not what is prized; status here is about the power to make the person you want or the cause you support famous.
Here is a common maxim, the dogma of this town: power is like real estate.
Power derives not entirely from you are, but who you associate with, where you work, what circles you run in--where you set up shop.
This is why they call the White House Chief of Staff the second-most powerful person in Washington. The Chief of Staff is elected--few Americans know his name. The Chief of Staff is not highly paid--the maximum White House salary is somewhere around $170,000, which may sound like a lot, but the Chief of Staff could (and will) make seven figures in the private sector.
But the Chief of Staff's status comes not from who he is, but who he serves and where he is. The Chief of Staff is the gatekeeper to the President. His office is typically right next to the Oval Office. He is powerful because he has the easiest access to power.
Now there is a lot wrong with all of these views of status, but there is something striking about D.C.'s view of status and power. I believe the basic maxim applies for Christians.
For friends of Jesus, power is real estate.
The Christian's power comes not from knowing the things of religion. The pastor's power is not derived from his church salary. No, the Christian's real, enduring power comes from where she sets up shop: on the Word of God, in His Presence, drawing nearer to the cross, nearer to His Glory.
Jesus tells a different story about status than our world, doesn't He?
Jesus tells us that our Glory comes not from men, but from Him, and that we reflect His Glory. His fame is our purpose--our status.
Jesus tells us that our investments are worthwhile not when we store up money for ourselves that is temporal, but when we invest in heaven, in His Kingdom.
Jesus tells us that the most powerful real estate is not on park avenue or the sandy beaches of Malibu, but on His Words and His Faithfulness. For the powers of this world were created by His Power. He is "before all things and in Him all things hold together."
We receive so many lies about our worth and our value. I know I sometimes get distracted by them. But all the world can do is distort the truth, it can create nothing new. So remember where your wealth, your glory and your power comes from. Remember that power is real estate.
My prayer is that we will stay close to Jesus.