Jewish proverb: Wisdom

Lost Wisdom

Lost Wisdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Do not be wise in words – be wise in deeds.”

Jewish proverb

 

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Bill Hybels: Cross, not a crown

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God led Jesus to a cross, not a crown, and yet that cross ultimately proved to be the gateway to freedom and forgiveness for every sinner in the world. God also asks us as Jesus’ followers to carry a cross. Paradoxically, in carrying that cross, we find liberty and joy and fulfillment.

Bill Hybels
WillowCreekCommunityChurch

Bible: Work of righteousness

 

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
Bible

 

 

Rembrandt and Leadership

The Head of Christ painting by Warner Sallman,...

The Head of Christ painting by Warner Sallman, 1941. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to being a great painting, Rembrandt’s “Head of Christ,” reveals two traits that great leaders and great artists share: the willingness to persist past the initial round of success and failure in life, and the courage to find a true mission and serve it.

Rembrandt painted the “Head of Christ” in about 1649, in the middle of the most prolific and also the most brutal period of his life. From 1635 to 1660, he endured the death of his wife and three sons, and a long slow descent from wealth to poverty. But as his sufferings became greater, so did his paintings. The works of Rembrandt’s final quarter century, made in terrible adversity, are universally considered the best of his career.

Rembrandt’s genius came only with maturity. It was not until he was in his late 30s that he even started painting in a style different from his peers. He had long been known as the most technically skilled painter of his generation, but it was only after being seasoned by success and (perhaps more important) failure that his full talent emerged. When he painted the “Head of Christ,” Rembrandt was forty-three, already an old man by the standards of the 1600s. Had he allowed himself to coast on his previous success, or be crippled by his private suffering, he would never have had the chance to do his best work.

Like great artists, great leaders change and mature over time. As students of leadership, we find that the most powerful lessons come from mature leaders. They have learned how to cope with both failure and success. Their experience with employees is long and deep. And they have at some point understood that no leader emerges from youth with a perfect record.

The “Head of Christ” embodies another quality great leaders and great artists share: authenticity. Rather than depict Jesus with an idealized northern European face, as his contemporaries did, Rembrandt found a young Sephardic Jew from an Amsterdam ghetto and used him as a model.

Truly effective leadership is built on this kind of authenticity. If you strive only for commercial success, you are not striving for enough. In fact, you are probably holding yourself back.

Tyron Edwards: Happiness

Bring Back My Happiness

Bring Back My Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered in grains, and enjoyed every day. It will not keep; it cannot be accumulated; nor have we got to go out of ourselves or into remote places to gather it, since it has rained down from a Heaven, at our very door.”
Tyron Edwards