This week I’m beginning a series on Leadership. You may think, well, I’m not a leader. Yes, you are. Everyone leads someone, even if it’s just your dog! As Christians we’re all role models and re-present Christ in our lives and that, my friend, requires leadership training. I’ll be focusing on the Apostle Peter as our example, his life as a follower of Jesus and an eventual leader. If it was necessary for him to be trained by the Master and learn how to be effective how much more for leaders today?
Simon’s (Peter) name means ‘he who hears’. That’s critical because listening is the first leadership trait we see developed in his life. Jesus observed listening, a necessary character trait, in Simon Peter’s life and yet it needed some ‘tweaking’. Let’s think about some aspects of listening that you’ll find in Peter’s story.
How about listening to God? Before his name change, Simon (later called Peter) was an impulsive spewer. He reacted with his mouth often before he took the time to think. Simon was rebuked by Jesus but eventually matured into a seasoned listener. He sat at the feet of Christ and listened to Him for three years allowing God to speak into his life. How about you? Are you listening to God or constantly talking? Is your prayer time like a grocery list or have you become intimate with your Savior? Scripture is clear that we need to develop our listening skills when we spend time with Him.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart. Proverbs 4:20, 21 NLT
What about listening to others? Would people say that you’re a good listener? Do you give eye contact? Do you listen while checking email or texts? Do you put people on speakerphone so you can do other things? When someone is transparent and trusts you enough to share their heart they need you to listen with your ears but also your heart. Listen without responding, without giving advice, and without drawing attention to yourself is a challenge that I hope you’ll accept.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 NLT
Who are you listening to? Leaders should not be afraid to take advantage of good counsel. Moses listened to Jethro and David listened to Nathan; both made good choices. Listening to the ‘right voice’ will keep you on the right path in leadership. Since there is a ‘right voice’ we can be assured there is a ‘wrong voice’. Discerning between the two is crucial to a leader. Time with God will help you to distinguish God’s voice from a stranger’s (John 10:1-5).
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. Proverbs 12:15 NLT
Trust me, you can improve on being a good listener.