Leaders Listen

“The moment you wake up each morning your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other Voice, letting that other, stronger, larger, quieter Life come flowing in.” —C.S. Lewis 

“God said, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Yes?’ answered Abraham. ‘I’m listening.’” —Genesis 22:1 

Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak. I’m Your servant, ready to listen.’” —1 Samuel 3:10 

“How much of God are we missing because we don’t stop to listen to the many voices God uses to speak to us?” —George Washington Carver 

“To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” —Proverbs 18:13 

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” —Winston Churchill

A mark of a godly leader is one who listens to the counsel of other godly leaders. 

“Wise, godly leaders know they must listen to the counsel of wise, godly leaders.” —Craig T. Owens 

“Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” —James 1:19 

“There are none so blind as those who will not see, none so deaf as those who will not hear, none so ignorant as those who will not listen… and none so foolish as those who think they can change those who will not see, hear, or listen.” —Warren Bennis

“Correct the wise, and they will love you.” —Proverbs 9:8 

“What is a great man who has made his mark upon history? … He is a man who has looked through the confusion of the moment and has seen the moral issue involved; he is a man who has refused to have his sense of justice distorted; he has listened to his conscience until conscience becomes a trumpet call to like-minded men, so that they gather about him, and together, with mutual purpose and mutual aid, they make a new period in history.” —Jane Addams, in a speech about George Washington 

“People don’t lose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening. Leaders seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person. Because they are leaders, the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate. …   

“A leader’s communication must be consistent, clear, and courteous. But leaders must also be good listeners. When leaders don’t listen: They stop gaining wisdom. … Leaders listen; leaders learn; and then leaders lead.” —John Maxwell 

This is part 43 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

George Washington Carver (book review)

I love reading biographies about our most prominent historical figures. A man that looms large at a pivotal time in US history is George Washington Carver, who is wonderfully captured in this biography by John Perry.

This book is a part of a wonderful series from Thomas Nelson called “The Christian Encounters Series.” Carver was a man strong in his Christian faith, and yet he showed it in his gentle lifestyle. As an African American born in the Jim Crow South, Dr. Carver endured his share of discrimination. But he also benefited by his share of helpful folks — both black and white — who treated him with dignity and respect, and opened doors of opportunity for him. Yet whether treated well or treated poorly, he treated everyone the same gracious, gentlemanly way.

Dr. Carver also lived out his Christian faith in his strong work ethic. He was busy learning more about creation and the Creator, and finding ways to show God through his discoveries. Although at times he was offered extraordinarily high salaries to leave Tuskegee Institute, he stayed right where he believed God had placed him.

Dr. Carver never had children of his own, but saw himself has a father to all his students. And those students gladly received his fatherly love and counsel. His Sunday evening Bible studies (which weren’t mandatory) were the best-attended event of the week. Even after graduation, many students maintained a lifelong correspondence with Father Carver.

Dr. Carver was revered as a father, a scientist, and a teacher. His impact on the advancement of science, and his example of hearing God’s whisper in all of His creation, are immeasurable. Regardless of race or age or background, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to this giant of a gentleman scientist.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Cardinal Virtues of Ladies & Gentlemen

George Washington Carver never married, and never had children of his own. But he saw himself as a father to all of his students at the Tuskegee Institute, and they viewed him the same way.

The graduating class of 1921 presented Dr. Carver with a beautiful fountain pen. He used that pen to write the following note to his children —

As your father, it is needless for me to keep saying, I hope, except for emphasis, that each one of my children will rise to the full height of your possibilities, which means the possession of these eight cardinal virtues which constitutes a lady or gentleman.

1st. Be clean both inside and outside.

2nd. Who neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.

3rd. Who loses, if need be, without squealing.

4th. Who wins without bragging.

5th. Who is always considerate of women, children, and old people.

6th. Who is too brave to lie.

7th. Who is too generous to cheat.

8th. Who takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.

I think we would do very well if we, too, possessed these virtues, and taught them to our children.

What’s Your Excuse?

It’s so easy to make excuses, isn’t it?

  • I wasn’t feeling well.
  • I don’t have enough training.
  • The sun was in my eye.
  • The other guy was supposed to….
  • I don’t have the right tools.
  • If only….
  • I can’t because….

John Maxwell has started a new teaching series where he presents a one-minute lesson on one word every day. Today’s lesson was on excuses. Watch the clip here.

Here are some other quotes on excuses —

“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” —George Washington Carver

 “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses only results.” —Kenneth Blanchard

“Obstacles are not excuses for failure, they are opportunities for growth.” —Craig T. Owens

“People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

Okay, now it’s your turn. In the comments below, add one of your favorite quotes about excuses.

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