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Quick to Listen

Quick to Listen

by Angela McKnight
- Leadership, listen

We fall short of being able to lead like Jesus in that we are not omniscient like He is.  Nevertheless, we can ask God for wisdom as we lead and seek to understand as much as possible in situations by being intentional about listening to those around us.

Speaking or leading out without knowing all the facts can be dangerous.  Just think about Job’s friends.  They gave him copious amounts of advice based on unfounded assumptions that they had made.  They assumed he had committed unconfessed sins before God and was being judged by Him.

What we see in the beginning of the book of Job, however, is that God offered up Job to Satan as someone who was righteous and would remain faithful even in the midst of adversity and loss.  God presented Job as someone who was loyal to Him, not as someone in need of judgment and discipline.

So maybe the lesson here is to gather information before we pass judgement or give advice.  Think about how Jesus listened to people throughout His earthly ministry.  He certainly didn’t need to listen to gain insight, since He knows everything, but maybe He was setting an example for us.

Sometimes what people may need the most is just for us to listen.  In fact, people are more likely to follow our leadership willingly when they know that we have taken the time to listen to them and hear their input.

But there is also an important point to be made in the fact that when we take the time to listen, we are better able to lead well, because we have more information.

Think about the times that this truth played out in Scripture.  For instance, when Esther told  King Ahasuerus of the plot to kill the Jews, he was better informed to make a decision about how to lead well.  The Jews likely would have been annihilated if the king had not listened to Esther.

Similarly, when Joseph revealed to the Egyptian Pharaoh the meaning of his puzzling dreams, the Pharaoh was better able to lead by making preparations for the impending famine.  Starvation would have been certain for the people of Egypt and for the Israelites if the Pharaoh had not listened to Joseph.

In these two situations, these rulers of countries were wise to listen to those under their leadership.  They could have refused to listen to people who were subservient to them, but their countries were spared disastrous events because they chose to listen and take the input of others.

While the potential negative outcomes in our ministries may not rise to the level of annihilation or starvation, we may at times be able to spare ourselves difficulties and conflicts by valuing others enough to listen to their thoughts about situations.  God has sovereignly placed people around us who may be of great help to us in our leadership.  Wise leader will help themselves be better equipped for leading by being quick to listen.

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