Nothing …proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself. (Thomas J. Watson, 20th century American businessman)
Some people long to be leaders in some arena—sports, politics, education, business, perhaps. Sometimes the ambitious person will pursue education and special training to equip himself to lead others in some worthy endeavor. But, no matter how well he does in his training, the real proof of his ability is how well he controls and directs his own life.
Now the [leader] is to be above reproach . . . temperate, self-controlled, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2).
You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices. (Source unknown)
Making choices is one of the few things that we can control. The problem with freedom, however, is the possibility that we may make wrong choices. We may do it intentionally, wanting instant gratification or to pursue some pleasure we want to experience. We too easily forget that at some time we will have to face the consequences of our choice.
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray (Proverbs 12:26). Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4).
How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves. (Thomas A Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ)
It’s a common human tendency, it seems. We are often guilty of judging other people’s actions without knowing all the facts. At the same time, we may be involved in similar activity, but we’re too close to it to see our own mistakes. Before we criticize anyone, we should consider not only their circumstances but our own actions in similar situations.
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged (Matthew 7).
Wisdom requires a humble spirit of continual learning. (Jesse Deloe, writer, editor)
Someone has said that you’re never too old to learn. Of course, learning is more than the accumulation of facts. And with so much new information becoming available every day, no one can keep up with it all. Learning how to assimilate knowledge and make appropriate application of it—that’s the key to learning and wisdom.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance (Proverbs 1:5). Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning (Proverbs 9:9).
Don’t argue for your own weaknesses. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately. (Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
It must be human nature. When we show our weaknesses by making mistakes—and we all do—we make excuses. We blame circumstances, other people, or faulty equipment—anything to put the blame someplace else. Many of us have learned, however, that we get past those difficult times best when we acknowledge our errors and move on purposefully.
I do not have time to tell about [more Old Testament heroes] . . . who through faith conquered kingdoms . . . whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies (Hebrews 11:32-34).
You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the meaning of your life. (Timothy Keller, American pastor and best-selling author)
As Keller looks at both ends of the spectrum, he concludes that neither brings satisfaction. The person who dislikes work will likely lack incentive to be productive and accomplish much of value. On the other hand, the work-a-holic doesn’t have time to enjoy the finer things of life like companionship and aesthetic values. Both need a happier middle ground.
What do workers gain from their toil? . . . There is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work (Ecclesiastes 3:9, 22)
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. (Voltaire, 18th century French Enlightenment writer)
Good teachers know how to frame good questions—questions that make the student think and not simply give rote responses. So, Voltaire’s instruction is helpful. The questions a person asks shows a lot about how he or she is thinking. Before we voice an inquiry, it would be good for us to prepare it carefully to elicit a really helpful answer.
After three days they found [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions (Luke 2:46).
Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene. (Arthur Christopher Benson, 19th-20th century English essayist and author)
We know better, of course, but still we often think “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence,” so we want to change our location, move somewhere else. As Benson suggests, that rarely solves any problems; it often creates the same ones just someplace else. The change has to be in ourselves; meditate, pray, work for self-improvement.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present. (Bill Keane, late American cartoonist)
It’s a play on words, of course: the present day is a gift from God. So was yesterday as tomorrow will be, too. If we spend too much time fretting about the failures of the past or worrying about tomorrow, we miss out on what’s happening today. Counting too much on the future spoils today, too. So, carpe diem, value today and fill it with purposeful effort.
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).
Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, adapt and grow in the face of pressure—welcome to life. (Christine Caine, Australian international speaker)
Caine seems to be suggesting that pressure is part of normal life. It can’t always be avoided, so the question is, “How do we stand up under pressure?” How do we recover and then change to handle the pressure? How do we grow in times of trial? For inward resilience, we most often will have to rely on strength from within and help from others.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. (Psalm 28:7).