“Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27
As a leader, it’s easy to come off as a know-it-all. Sometimes, that’s what we may feel like we are even supposed to be. On the contrary, we should always be listening and learning.
In fact, learning rarely happens apart from listening. Sometimes, leaders are hard-headed and choose to learn from “experience”. However, it is the wise leader that learns from listening.As a leader, it is important to always be listening in various forms. This listening leads to an abundance of knowledge and maturity beyond your years. So how are your listening skills? How much have you been learning lately?
Spend some time listening to God. If God is always speaking…even in His perceived absence, then there’s something worth hearing. Leaders are prayers. They are readers of His Word. They look to the Highest Authority and submit to Him. They heed His advice and counsel. A godly leader can only be such, so much as he listens to God and for God.
Listen to other godly people. They have years of experience and counsel. Great leaders surround themselves with great minds and hearts. These are people who will speak Truth into your life and keep Truth in front of your face. Their job is not to make you feel good but to be instruments of God in your life. Let God speak to you through others and be willing to heed their words of wisdom.
Listen to yourself. How have you been sounding lately? Are you full of God’s word or full of yourself? Are you finding yourself talking more about yourself or about God? Do you take time to really listen to others or do you expect others to listen to you? A great leader always listens to the hearts of others. He is able to sense people’s hearts behind their veiled words. This only happens when the leader is more concerned about the people than himself.
A leader who is unwilling to listen, who does not seek to listen and learn, will surely run into trouble and find no one is listening to or following him. As a leader, carve out time to listen today. When you do…you just might hear some things that could save your life.
“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Proverbs 16:1
We all make plans, as we should. Even with great detail and consideration, it is the Lord that brings anything and everything into existence. Here are a few thoughts for leaders as we make plans for the future.
Pray for sensitivity to God’s leading in your life. Don’t move without consulting with God. Spend time praying and fasting before major decisions especially. Some decisions are life-altering and have long-term ramifications. You want to make sure that those decisions are the ones God wants you to make and ones that would please Him.
Listen for His voice and the counsel of godly people. God’s direction will not conflict with His Word. Many times our decisions are selfish and motivated by self-interest. God decisions are motivated by God-interests. When we are making decisions we should not only look at how we’re affected but moreover how others are affected, will benefit and ultimately how the Kingdom is benefited by the plan and decision we’re about to make.
Act when God tells you too, even if you don’t understand why. So often, we want to know it all but we can’t and shouldn’t expect too. God is not obligated to reveal any reasons or give any justification to us. Our response is simply to obey.
Never allow personal feelings, agenda, or previous plans, get in the way of God’s call on your life. He has the right and position to lead you into any direction and way He desires. Timing is important to God but sometimes His timing disrupts our timing. We must rest assured that His timing is perfect and He never makes a mistake. When God says “move”, we move and when God says “stay”, we stay. It should never be a question of timing; it is always a question of trust.
Serve faithfully where you are until God moves or leads you somewhere else. This is always difficult when we have dreams and plans of our own. But when we follow God and any dream He initiates we trust He will administrate it all in His own time. We simply need to be ready to move with God when God moves. We don’t have to make anything “happen”. We do have to wait on the Lord. Waiting doesn’t mean inactivity but quite the opposite. It means serving where we are so as to always be watching for where God wants us to serve next. Servants always look for another way, another place to serve. The best way to know where next is be serving somewhere now; not waiting for the “dream job” to open up.
The last word is God’s. We don’t need to explain or justify anything that we do that He has called us to. Rest assured that if we are moving out of His Will, we will give account of our decisions and choices. When God gives the last word, our first word should be “yes”.