Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “teachability”

Calling in an Expert

And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the LORD has promised good to Israel.” But he said to him, “I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred.” And he said, “Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. And if you do go with us, whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same will we do to you.”     Numbers 10:29-32  ESV

Israel had been in the Sinai for two years since the Exodus and now the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle and they were to begin their pilgrimage.  The Lord had told them that this journey would last for 40 years – until the generation that did not believe and obey His promises had died.

It’s interesting that though the Lord was guiding Israel with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, Moses still sought the help and advice of a local expert who knew the environment.  The cloud would give them the general direction to move, but the large number of people had to choose a place to camp.  It was in this selection of a camping spot that Moses sought the help of a local expert – Hobab – for he knew ‘where we should camp in the wilderness.’

Kingdom leaders are certainly led by God through the Holy Spirit in their decisions, just as Moses and Israel were led by the Lord in their desert journey.  But a wise leader knows that there are situations when the counsel and help of an expert can be of great assistance.

Moses recruited Hobab to join with them in the journey.  He promised him reward for his service – the same reward that all would share together.  It seems that Hobab was a brother-in-law to Moses who he had come to know and trust during his forty years of working for Jethro (also known as Reuel – see Exodus 2:18).  Though Moses had forty years of desert experience, he recognized that Hobab knew much more about desert living than he and thus the request for help.

Wise Kingdom leaders know when to ask for outside expertise for supporting their leadership.  This takes humility and teachability to acknowledge we do not have all the answers.  Ask for help when you need it!

The Life-long Learner

Nothing so stifles a leader as an attitude of, “I already know that” or “Yes, I mastered that some time ago.”  This attitude of “I’ve arrived” has its roots in pride and destroys one’s ability lead effectively.

God does not take the sin of arrogance lightly.  Three times (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) He says that He opposes (actively works against) the proud person.  We will learn humility, either by humbling ourselves or having God humble us.  The choice is ours as to the means.

The learning leader is humble enough to admit that one never arrives.  Yes, we may gain altitude in some areas, but it’s all relative.  Altitude compared to what or whom is what’s important.  Comparing ourselves to others often leaves us feeling good about ourselves.  But comparing ourselves to Christ should quickly remind us of how far we have to go.  Look up, not around!

Good leaders are learners.  They are not learned in the eyes of the world necessarily (Luke 10:21, 1 Corinthians 1:26), but they are ever striving to develop in areas of character, skills, and abilities; seeking to maximize their potential impact and  for Christ.  They set the pace for others in their personal pursuit of God and their service for Him, always sensing how far they need to go, not how far they’ve come.

From where do leaders learn?  There are multiple sources, but let me suggest two.  One primary source for learning is from those who are older.  Job 8:8-9 says, “Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing.”  From what older person are you mining their years of experience and wisdom?

A second important source for a leader’s learning is from observing what goes on around us.  In Proverbs 24:32 we read, “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.”  Rushing from one thing to the next greatly hinders the learning one can do from observing.  We must take the time to stop, think and reflect.  When was the last time you just took some extended time to think about life, your family, your ministry or some other important issue?

Learning leaders are also passing on what they learn to others.  Jesus and Paul modeled this well.   Jesus learned and passed it on to his friends, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).  Paul says to Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others”( 2 Timothy 2:2).  Are you passing along what you are learning?  Who looks to you for coaching, mentoring or discipling help?

Maintaining a learning mode throughout life continually increases our effectiveness for Christ as leaders.  But what we learn is not for us only.  We can use it to help others.  Let others benefit from the things God is teaching you.  Perhaps we should begin by sharing more with our friends, spouses, and children.

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