Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed as one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith. So do not worry.”
Matthew 6: 28-31
“They do not toil:
Content with their allotted task
They do but grow; they do not ask
A richer lot, a higher sphere,
But in their loveliness appear,
And grow, and smile, and do their best,
And unto God they leave the rest.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And one said, ‘Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants.’ And he answered, ‘I will go.’ So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.”
II Kings 6: 3, 4
“5 Big Lessons From One Little Iron Axe”
Lesson 2 ”Leadership”
“Leadership is about influencing people for good. It is about accomplishing more through others than we could ever do on our own”
What are the reasons I think the students at the School of the Prophets wanted Elisha to accompany them on their “building mission”?
What does this story teach me about respecting the counsel of Godly leaders?
“Leaders do more than lead people; they cultivate other leaders.”
Definition of “Leadership”: The capacity to show others the way. To guide and serve.
“Anyone who is not leading others in life is not really living.”
Charles “Tremendous” Jones
Of all the joys I receive writing the daily devotionals here in Transformation Garden, one of the greatest of all is the people I have met on the pages of biographies and autobiographies as well as stories shared regarding individuals I didn’t know a thing about.
Today is one of those times when I ran onto several quotes penned by a man named Charles “Tremendous” Jones. Now you have to know that with a name which includes the word “Tremendous,” my interest would be really peaked, so I started doing some research on this man called “Tremendous.” There are many qualities that define this gentleman, not the least the fact that he authored the book, Life Is Tremendous. Those who knew him best use adjectives like “unfailingly positive, insightful, warm and wonderful,” to describe this delightful individual. In several places I researched, this particular quote was attributed to Charles Jones: “Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today, except for the people you meet and the books that you read!” It was this personal belief that lead his family to carry on his work after his death through an organization called Tremendous Life books.
However, before one just thinks that with a name like “Tremendous” in it that Charles Jones was just a great motivational speaker whose talent was infusing others with his joy for life. I want to assure you that it was the deep spiritual values, cultivated within Charles Jones’ life, that helped him understand that the foundation of great leadership isn’t just based on fleeting earthly philosophies but on the things of God. The fact is that in my reading, I found a lot of the enthusiastic qualities that inspired Charles “Tremendous” Jones were actually present in the forward-thinking leadership of the prophet Elisha.
When the young men at the School of the Prophets came to their “leader,” Elisha, asking for his input regarding their upcoming building project, they were honoring his good advice; they were showing respect for his years of experience; and they wanted his on-the-spot input. Elisha, I might add, didn’t let them down for not only did he encourage them with their expansion of the school facilities but he came along with them to inspire them with his presence.
As Matthew Henry astutely shares: “These men (the students at the School of the Prophets), had a great value and veneration for Elisha; though they were themselves prophets, they paid much deference to him. They would not go about to build at all without his (support.)”
It is this desire to ask for Godly assistance which highlights the fact that if we, each of us, want to fulfill the “leadership” role God has for us within the realm where we serve, at home, at work, at church, in our community or even in the world, as Henry wisely advises: “It is good for us all to be suspicious of our own judgment, even when we think we have most reason for it, and to be desirous of the advice of those who are wiser and more experienced…it was commendable in the sons of the prophets to take their ‘father’ along with them, under his direction…they would not fell timber without his company.” Being under Elisha’s “supervision” the students took to their task and as we will find out, it was Elisha’s presence which ended up bringing a wonderful miracle to bear upon the project they undertook.
As I read about the request of the sons of the prophets to have Elisha’s wise leadership and advice as part of their building project, I thought back to many times in my own life when a wiser head and more experienced individual assisted me, not in just my spiritual walk but in my work as well as in general life adventures.
Early on in my nursing career, I was called upon to frequently start I.V.’s on patients. Often, because I was working evening or night shifts, the few Registered Nurses on duty were sought out with no back-up available. It didn’t take me long to recognize that sticking a patient over and over again was not only painful but proved absolutely futile.
One day, I asked one of the hospital physicians who he thought was the most experienced and effective person at the hospital when it came to starting I.V.’s. Much to my surprise, he mentioned the name of the oldest nurse on the staff who had been working in the Surgery Department for years. I would have never guessed this “old” lady was “the best.” With my “young girl” attitude, I couldn’t imagine how that lady, three times my age could even see well enough with her bifocals to get a needle or plastic tubing into a vein. Guess what? Because of my youthful arrogance, I was totally wrong for she was a genius – a miraculous technician – who with years of practice had learned every “trick in the book.” Actually, it was practice combined with experience which gave her an expertise that didn’t just bewilder me, it led me to ask her, humbly, if she would be kind enough to let me know every time she had an I.V. to start, so I could come and watch her in action. And with gracious kindness, for months, she took time to assist me in learning how to start I.V.’s correctly.
Years later, one evening at the large hospital where I worked, I heard my name paged throughout the hospital asking me to call a certain extension. When I did, the nursing supervisor of the entire hospital asked if I would come to a room where her own mother lay dying of invasive cancer. “We can’t get an I.V. started,” she said, “and someone told me to see if you were on duty and would be willing to try. It’s my mom, Dorothy, and I want the best for her.” I can’t tell you how I felt at that moment. And as I prayed all the way to this precious mom’s room, I remembered the gracious kindness of an elderly nurse who took time to train me for a moment in time when I was able to quickly and with the least amount of pain possible, slip that I.V. into a fragile vein and then watch as the fluids combined with pain medication gave some relief to my supervisor’s dying mom.
I share this story for many times in my life, when I’ve wanted to plow ahead, thinking I could be the “leader of the pack,” I’ve thought back upon all the experiences in my own life where I’ve benefited from the advice, wisdom, knowledge and good judgment of an “Elisha” – be it male or female – but someone whose value God has given to me to assist me as I accomplish God’s purpose in my own life.
As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “Leadership is an obligation and a privilege of every person, young and old, because it is based simply on what we do.” Let us in following God’s plan in our lives, use the example of the young prophets who said to Elisha, “Please come along with us, we need your guidance and heavenly wisdom.” And Elisha answered, “I will go. And be part of your team.”
“Good leadership is a gift of God for the blessing of His people.”
We Dare to Ask
“…O God of small things and great sacrifice,
we ask that in this world
where there are at least two sides to anything,
you would grant us
quiet hearts hushed by trusting
that finally all sides of everything are yours,
a sense of liberating proportion in the awareness
that therefore all sides are not ours,
guidance in choosing daily which side of what
will receive the stubborn ounces of our weight,
passion to commit those ounces to tip the scales
toward your kingdom and not to be afraid
to succeed in full or part or not at all,
humility to engage in the human fray
without dehumanizing ourselves
or those who disagree with us,
joy in striving to do the much that depends on us
in balance with the ease of confirming
the infinitely more that depends on you.
And we ask only a few things more, O God,
a few small, mustard-seed size,
a faithful, saving things:
to walk with you in each moment
without plotting for tomorrow,
and so to really consider the birds of the air,
the lilies of the field,
and find the treasures hidden
in the round of the daily;
to learn by leaning into your Spirit
to be present to others without preoccupation,
to engage without having to win,
to disagree without being judgmental,
to accept outcomes without despair,
to succeed or fail without misplacing hope,
to tune to the bracing hum of the stars,
to fathom enough without dismissing fathomless mystery
of your creation, our brothers and sisters,
and the grace and mercy and power
of your embrace that holds close,
each small one of us,
and everything all together;
in Jesus’ name,
My Heart in My Mouth
“Prayers for our Lives”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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