I love a story that John Maxwell told back when he was a pastor in the San Diego area. They had hired Dan Reiland to be on their staff. One morning Dan walked into the church office and John was standing there talking to a couple of their church leaders. Dan walked by without saying anything, went into his office and shut the door. Excusing himself, John followed Dan, sat down and began this conversation...
"Dan, you just walked right by us without acknowledging that we were even there. What's up?"
"I have a lot to do. I needed to come in here and get to work."
"I need you to understand something, Dan. That was your work standing out there and you walked right past it!"
Dan learned and developed his people skills. Attitude skills, organization skills and people skills are essential tools for any effective leader. Dan Reiland went on to become a world class leader. He has helped train other leaders all over the world and been a blessing to all sorts of local churches. I know. He consulted with us a number of years ago. His people skills were impeccable.
One of the Bible verses I long ago highlighted was, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." (Proverbs 14:4 NASB) In the margin, I wrote, "Where no people are, there are no problems."
Having grown up on a little farm where my chores included helping milk cows, I can tell you something about the difference between a clean and a dirty manger. Mangers are feeding troughs. Ours included a rather large one for hay and a small one for grain right next to it.
Our practice was to put grain into a smaller trough when milking. If the cow finished the grain before we completed milking her, she might get ornery and turn around backwards. It wasn't all than unusual for one to "do her business" right into her manger. You get the picture.
We grew up with fresh milk, fresh butter and some of the most tender beef you could have found anywhere on the planet. No exaggeration. We constantly ate homemade ice cream in the summer to use up some of the over abundance of fresh cream.
But we had to keep the manger clean. It's part of good cow skills.
I'm certain the connection is clear.