INNER CIRCLE: Renouncing Power

INNER CIRCLE: Renouncing Power November 3, 2023

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Jesus said, “The one who has become rich should reign. And the one who has power should renounce.”


Why would Jesus want those who are rich to reign? Don’t they have enough power already? Perhaps he is suggesting that those who have riches, or who desire riches, should go all the way and acquire great power as well. Both of these are illusions. Neither riches nor power will endure beyond the grave, and the allure of power and riches only perpetuates the illusion that we are separate from one another.

To escape the illusion of Us versus Them, we must sometimes discover for ourselves how empty and pointless these concepts truly are. Those who have acquired great wealth have discovered how empty it makes them feel. They assume the reason for their emptiness is that they don’t quite have enough wealth to fill the empty spaces. So, they continue to scheme and plan to increase their wealth even more. With any luck, they soon discover that no amount of money will fill that empty void within. But, what can they do now that they have surrounded themselves with riches that can never fulfill them? Perhaps they can use their power to rule over other people. That might give them a feeling of importance and worth. But, eventually, even this proves to be empty and meaningless.

Several of those who have achieved great wealth, power and fame have come to realize the wisdom of these words. Actor, Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Jesus tells us that once someone becomes rich, they should seek power, and once they realize that these are dead-end pursuits, they should do the most sensible thing and renounce both power and wealth.

Some scholars take a metaphorical approach to this saying, suggesting that those who become rich are synonymous with those who have awakened to the reality of Oneness. In that context, Jesus would be suggesting that those who are aware of the illusion of separation should reign. But, in what sense? Certainly not in a political sense. Perhaps even reigning itself should be taken as a metaphor, but that only leaves us wondering why Jesus would want anyone to “lord it over” other people who aren’t aware of the illusion.

If we turn back to Saying 2, we’ll read where Jesus says:

“Let one who seeks not stop seeking until that person finds; and upon finding, the person will be disturbed; and being disturbed, will be astounded; and will reign over all.” [Emphasis added]

Here, Jesus suggests that the one who truly awakens to the reality of Oneness “will reign over the all.” But, this seems to be in a spiritual sense rather than a material one. Enlightenment sets us free to realize the futility of striving to own or acquire anything, since everything and everyone is already connected. We lack for nothing. We flow from the Divine Source of all things and all things flow through us and from us, freely.

So, when Jesus mentions that those who “become rich should reign,” it makes more sense to think of both riches and reigning in metaphorical terms. Becoming rich is equated with awakening to the reality of Oneness. Reigning is related to resting in the truth that everything we need is already present within us.

Renouncing power, as Jesus says, is the natural response for those who understand that worldly riches and power are meaningless in light of the truth that all things are One in Christ.


Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, SOLA DEUS: What If God Is All Of Us? is available now on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle HERE>

Find out more about online courses HERE>

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