Leaders… Never… Stop… Learning

Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

I Kings 4:29-34 NAS 

According to the Bible, Solomon was the wisest man in the world. However, what is fascinating is that although he was the wisest, he wrote many proverbs stressing the importance of listening and learning. In fact, Solomon said wisdom and understanding were worth giving up everything to get:

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you: love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:6-7 NIV

Couldn’t the wisest man on earth just be satisfied with knowing more than everyone else? Couldn’t he just sit back, rest on his laurels and call it a day? Ironically, his wisdom knew that it needed, well, more wisdom.  He understood that the key to being wise was to continually seek learning and understanding.

There is a great lesson for leaders here.

Leaders are often accomplished people, “doers” who are simply not satisfied with anything less than completion.  So, what about completion in learning? When do we “arrive” as leaders? When is it OK to let off the gas pedal of education and sit back and enjoy all that we have learned? Well, if we look at Solomon, we see that he didn’t believe that learning was ever completed. In fact, if you read the rest of his story, in the end he did not even heed his own advice. He failed to listen to the greatest wisdom of all – God’s instruction – and it ultimately led to his ruin.

As leaders, we should be continually seeking out those who are wiser than we are and learn everything we can from them. Additionally, we should never allow the wisdom we attain from learning to get a big head.  Pride is a powerful force that will keep us from growing and becoming all that we could be.

So, embrace learning, fight pride, and finish strong.

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