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Thursday
Mar052015

Three Keys To Leadership Fruitfulness

 

We all know that 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us of the power that the Word of God can have on our lives in "Teaching us what is true, making us realize what is wrong in our lives, straightening us out and teaching us to do what is right." (NLT)

Every once in a while in my personal devotions, I run across a verse that hits home and hits hard.

"Go near and listen to all the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” Deuteronomy 5:27 (NIV)

These words were spoken to Moses by the children of Israel. I see three things in this verse that rebuke, challenge and guide me.

1.  I want and need to pray for ears to hear everything God is saying


I am increasingly convinced that one of a leader’s greatest tasks is to listen. Many times the need of the hour is not in having the right answers (they are changing so fast anyway) but in asking the right questions. I need to continue to grow, first of all, in listening to God.

Proverbs 3:6 in The Message says, "Listen for God’s voice in everything you do everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track."

With His help, I want to listen to Him in the morning as I spend time in the Word and prayer. And I want to listen throughout the day as I move from activity to activity, project to project, phone call to phone call, person to person.

It embarrasses me how long I can go without slowing down during the day and getting quiet inside long enough to listen. Pascal observed that "All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

Then, I want to learn to listen to people; really listen. I frankly admit that I am guilty of what Proverbs 18:2 warns against, "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."

There was an old bird that sat in an oak. The more he heard the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Lord, make me like that wise old bird.

2.  I want and need to pray for courage to communicate the whole truth


In my leadership, as I am listening to God, He will begin to let me know what issues He wants me to address. At times this may not be easy to say or accept and requires boldness, risk-taking. Isn’t that what Noah, Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul and Jesus had to deal with?

Caleb and Joshua got into major trouble by reporting what God made clear to them. In Joshua 14:7 Caleb says, "I was forty years old at the time, and Moses had sent us from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land of Canaan. I reported what I felt was the truth,…”  (Living Bible).

Caleb reported what God made clear to him and Joshua. Their message to the people was: We can do this. Let’s go forward in faith and confidence in the promises of God. But that isn’t what the people wanted to hear or do.

I love what Charles Swindoll says as he compares eagle-leaders (courageous) with parrot-leaders (repeating what everyone else is saying.)

"Eagles do not have a predictable pinion in their wings. They are on a search to discover, to learn; and that means, being courageous, tough minded, willing to ask the hard questions as they bypass the routine in vigorous pursuit of truth, the whole truth.

“Eagles take risks getting their food, because they hate anything that comes from a small dish of picked-over seed. Boring, dull, repetitious, and dry. We are running shy of eagles and we’re running over with parrots."

3.  I want and need to pray for hearts to respond in loving obedience to God


With His help, I am listening well to Him and to the people I lead. I am speaking out in love and with conviction, willing to deal with the tough issues when called upon. The last piece is the people responding to what I have heard and shared. "We will listen and obey." Isn’t that what we as leaders want to find in those we are privileged to lead? Willing and obedient hearts.

In Acts 10, Peter stepped into the home of Cornelius. He was there because he had listened to God and was ready to communicate what God made clear to him. In verse 33 Cornelius says, "Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."

That’s it! Peter listens to all God had to say to him (most of it was a LARGE paradigm shift for him!). He left his comfort zone and traditions to go and communicate what he had heard. God had given those on the receiving end a heart to listen and obey. As a result, the message of the kingdom took a quantum leap forward.

At the very core of my leadership is the need to listen well, the courage to share boldly and for hearts to respond. I am highly motivated to pray over these three aspects of my leadership as I face decisions and teach and speak into the lives of those I coach or lead. 

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