I read a quote recently that said, “Genuine humility is the capability to learn something from anyone.” I think one’s ability or inability to do this tells a lot about them. Can you learn from those you disagree with? Can you be a student of someone that you don’t have anything in common with? I really do feel that the ability to do this is one of the most important characteristics of a person trying to be a godly leader.
There is a pastor that I know that is incredibly arrogant, self-focused, and a pretty big know-it-all. But he also has a sharp mind, an amazing ability to communicate, and develops efficient and effective systems and structures. And here’s the thing several of my friends disagree with: I meet with him once a month to LEARN from him.
“Tommy, you don’t want to be a man like that!” You’re absolutely right. “He’s not a godly pastor!” That’s probably true too. But I can learn something from him. “But you sitting down to learn from him will only increase his pride!” I want to possess active humility and meeting with someone like this helps me do that while I’m also praying that the Holy Spirit massages his heart toward humility and dependence on God.
The rub is this – I want to be a leader that pushes toward humility by being able to learn SOMETHING from ANYONE. I don’t just want to learn from those I agree with, those I have a lot in common with, or people I think are godly. There’s something to learn from every single person you come across in life, and I’m out to learn it.
“But what if TOO much of them rubs off on me?” The most valuable asset in learning from people I don’t completely agree with is the debriefing sessions I have afterwards with both the Lord and those closest to me. When I’m looking at my notes, mulling over what they said, or discussing their thoughts with friends, I want to sift through the thoughts that I don’t agree with to obtain the principles and helpful skills that I feel God is trying to teach me.
I don’t want to have that pastor’s pride rub off on me, but I sure want to think more sharply like he does. I don’t want to be solely focused on me, mine, my, but I do want to learn how to be a better communicator like he is. I don’t want to foster a “know-it-all” mentality, but I absolutely want to foster a leadership style that implements effective systems and structures for discipleship.
I’m out to learn every godly principle and skill that I can from WHOEVER I can. I really do trust in the fact that every biography I read of great or evil leaders in history, there is something they possessed that God has for me to reap. And, in the same way, every single person you interact with can help you be a better, godlier person, even if you disagree with their total lifestyle.
Set out to learn exactly what God is trying to teach you through every relationship you have. Be a humble student in every encounter and watch how God blesses your life because of how you were willing to step out of the box and learn from anyone and everyone, even those you disagree with.