I have talked a lot in my posts about being mentored and learning from others. I think continuous learning is a critical part of being a leader and anyone who has stopped learning will not be leading much longer. However, there can be an easily overlooked danger in this that I want to address.
Endless Supply Of Material
If you have access to the internet, then you literally have access to more leaders than you can count. You can read books and blogs or watch videos and webinars on virtually any subject or topic you choose. There is a virtually endless supply of wisdom out there to be gleaned.
Even if you narrow your search down to Christian business leaders, it would not be very difficult to find more material than you can absorb in a year. Quite simply, there is not a shortage of opportunities for learning or gaining wisdom in the world today.
I have been overwhelmed at times with the abundance of godly wisdom that is available. In fact, there have been times where I have been reading two or three different books or blogs at one time. While it can sometimes get confusing, I have enjoyed the variety.
So what exactly is the danger that we need to avoid?
How can continuous learning cause us trouble?
Danger Example In Scripture
These are good questions, but before I answer them I want to take a look at an example from Scripture. In the following passage, Peter steps into a danger zone. It is this area that I want to discuss.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transformed in front of them, and His clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what he should say, since they were terrified.
A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud:
This is My beloved Son;
listen to Him!
Then suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus alone.
Did you catch the danger area for Peter? Look back at what Peter said about building three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. What was wrong with that? Why should we consider this a danger zone?
I am not sure it is really clear until you read further and see how God responded. Read again what He says to them – “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him!”
I believe that Peter was in awe over seeing Moses and Elijah. As a Jew, Peter saw these two guys as legendary men of faith. God worked incredible miracles through them and their lives were studied in depth by Jewish children as they came up in the synagogue.
For Americans, this would be like suddenly meeting George Washington and Ben Franklin. For students of business, the equivalent might be Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. Athletes might compare this to meeting Babe Ruth and Jim Thorpe.
I think you get the idea, but maybe the danger is still unclear.
Think about it. Peter is clearly enamored with meeting these two legends and immediately wants to do something to show his excitement. Rather than thinking it through, he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind – to build three tabernacles or shelters for the tow of them and Jesus.
This is when God steps in and speaks. It is not often that God does this so we need to pay attention when He does. We should immediately realize that there is something important for us to learn here.
When God speaks, He makes it known that Jesus is His Son and that Peter (and the others) should listen to Him. Why did He do this?
What Peter did not realize was that while Moses and Elijah were great men, they were not great enough to be put on par with Jesus! Even though Peter should have been in awe of their presence, he should have been that much more in awe over being in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God! I don’t think it is coincidental that as soon as God said this, Jesus is the only one still standing there.
Too often, like Peter, we get caught up in who is the latest leader or guru in our industry. We want to read the latest book on business by the most recent author to rise to the top of his area of expertise. We even take pride in telling people what we have read and who we are learning from.
Jesus Stands Alone
Unfortunately, the danger is in the possibility of putting these people on par with Jesus. Even worse, we might be putting them ahead of Jesus! And while God is not using his booming voice to shock us back into the right mindset, passages like the one above should make it obvious that we are out of line.
Peter got caught up in the moment and went too far in showing honor to Moses and Elijah. We often do the same when we stop seeking our wisdom from Jesus, replacing Him with whoever it is that intrigues us at the moment.
Jesus As Foudation
To avoid this danger, we all need to make sure we build a foundation of learning from Jesus through consistent Bible study and prayer. We need to allow the wisdom from God’s Word to be our first and most important source of wisdom – whether it is for our business, job, or family. He should be first.
From there, there is no danger in adding godly wisdom from other sources as well. We just need to remember to keep this other wisdom in perspective, comparing it to Scripture and only applying that which matches what we read there.
Have you been guilty of putting others on par with Jesus?
Can you see the danger of doing this?
How do you make sure Jesus is your foundation first?