King Solomon has been granted the distinct honor of being called the wisest man who ever lived. Buried in his advice are four very good rules to use when either evaluating your effectiveness or selecting a leader.
- The goal of wise teaching is to impart knowledge.
- Proverbs impart knowledge.
- Pleasing words are necessary to convey knowledge.
- Words of Truth are required to convey knowledge.
The first point here is that leadership (Solomon was a king) is responsible for teaching its subjects and the goal of teaching is knowledge. Of course, pure knowledge does little for society so effective knowledge must be linked to behavior. Solomon is pointing out that hatred and vitriol speech has no place in education. You must understand, internalize. Reading Proverbs helps to appreciate what experience can bring to an educator. Proverbs are part of the Old Testament but they are very different. Unlike commandments that we find throughout Scripture, Proverbs are pithy advice about life, gleaned from experience. So leadership should be reserved for those who have served their apprenticeship and have a proven record of success.
Solomon’s final point is that to successfully transfer to others, it must be based on truth. This might be the hardest of lessons to learn. It is not sufficient to hear what we want, to do what we want, to act any way we please. Truth tells us that there is a right way and a wrong way. It is the Teacher’s responsibility to know the difference. That is why we follow Christ, we gain knowledge, we gain Truth!
Teaching is no easy task. We depend on teachers during our educational years, we use what we learn to raise a family, we apply our knowledge and experience to pick our leaders and for some of us, we use that knowledge to become leaders ourselves.
Do you teach others to change their lives and become more Christ-like?
Are you observant enough to learn from experience and relate your knowledge succinctly to others?
Is your style constructive, building up those you teach and do you lead by example?
Do you know the Truth and are you willing to share it with others?
Have you read Solomon’s Proverbs?
In the Gospel of John, chapter 10:25-27, Jesus answers the question of whether He is the Messiah by reminding the people that the answer to this question can found in His works, not His words. And so it is with leadership. We are told time and time again, the character of a person is visible in their behavior. We are being called by both Solomon and Jesus to “be observant,” called to look for the “experience that should be the foundation of wisdom. Are the teachings pleasing enough that we retain the knowledge? Do we hear truth?
Jesus says that some will see the “Father” in His actions, His sheep will know His voice. Yet others, who see the same acts of mercy and grace see nothing but themselves. And that is the essence of faith. Mankind is in no position to judge each other’s sin. That is reserved for our Lord. We are, however, called to observe the peace and perfection that can be found through Christ. Then, we are challenged to lead a life that compels others to seek the same life we have found in Christ.
Your tip, therefore, is to share Christ in your life—and only, when necessary, use words.