LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS
Date: May 4
1 Kings 12:7
"And they said to him, If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them and answer them with good words, they will be your servants forever."
This chapter is about Rehoboam, the son of Solomon who was the wisest king who ever lived. When Rehoboam becomes the king after Solomon dies, the people of Israel came to Rehoboam and said, "Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore lighten the hard service and the heavy yoke your father put upon us, and we will serve you" [1 Kings 12:4]. So Rehoboam decided that he was going to consult with the counselors who served his father. But even though the counselors were older than him, Rehoboam forsook their counsel.
Instead he consulted with the young men who grew up with him. And these people advised him to say, "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father loaded you with heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" [1 Kings 12:10b-11]. So when the people came back and asked Rehoboam once more to lighten their load, the Bible says, "the king answered the people roughly and forsook the counsel the old men had given him, and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men…" [1 Kings 12:13-14a]. After that, Israel's kingdom became divided, and Rehoboam lost half his kingdom. Now what can we learn from this example?
The lesson to be learned here is simple: listen to your elders. Don't just do what your peers tell you to do. We should be listening to our elders. Who are your elders? First of all, your elders are your parents and then your grandparents. Those are the people you should be listening to. Also, there is something else that can be learned here. In this case, the advice of the elders was, "Listen to the people. Lighten their load." So when the majority talks, we should pay attention to what they are saying.
The same principle is practiced within successful companies. Companies have to listen to their customers and adhere to what their customers want. There was a Swiss company that made watches. They were the best of their time. Then there was a man who invented a digital watch. He tried to persuade the Swiss watch company to take his watch and produce it under the Swiss name. But they kept saying, "No, we already make the best watches in the world." They didn't listen to the man. So this man took his digital watch and went to a company called Seiko and successfully persuaded Seiko to reproduce his watch. Now Seiko makes the most watches, and the Swiss company has dropped in popularity because they didn't listen to the advice of the man. So, when you own a company and a customer makes a comment or suggestion, you should pay attention to that customer. Sometimes that is the way the Lord will lead you.
So as this example of Rehoboam teaches, we should listen to our elders (our parents and grandparents). Secondly, we should listen to the majority of the people that we are serving. We can't just serve people and not pay attention to them. Effective leadership starts with listening to wise counsel and meeting the needs of the people we lead.