Re-post: Two Kinds of People

Are you engine or cargo?

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.  – Colossians 3:17 (The Message)

It’s time for another visit to the poetry corner.  The following was in regular use in my old Boy Scout troop.   It was there I learned a lot about leadership and about service.  So here, for your edification and enjoyment is Edna Wheeler Wilcox’s Two Kinds of People

Chez les Monges

A leaning door isn’t quite fulfilling its purpose.


There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say,
Not the good and the bad, for ’tis well understood
The good are half bad and the bad are half good

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.
Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man’s wealth
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s busy span
Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.
No! The two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go you will find the world’s masses
Are ever divided in just these two classes.
And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I wean,
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean.

This one question I ask, Are you easing the load
Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road?
Or are you a leaner who lets others bear
Your portion of worry and labor and care?

-Edna Wheeler Wilcox

Whether it acknowledges it or not, the world needs the unique contributions and leadership of men.  Discovering your purpose — your calling — is worth the time and effort it takes.  And after this, committing to your mission according to that purpose is where a man crafts his legacy.  It is at this point that a man must dedicate himself to being, in the words of the poet, a lifter.

If you’re a leader, bear the burden of leadership by serving those you expect to follow you.  It is important to meet your obligations, and the heart of management is motivating and inspiring others to own and perform the necessary tasks.  Leadership is management with human concerns at the forefront.  So take care to value people and use things — not the other way around.

And if you’re a follower, ease your leader’s burden by offering to take on some of his tasks, and even more by having at least one well-thought-out solution for every problem you bring him.  It may ultimately be his call, but you’re lightening the load by bringing your leader the best thinking you’ve got.

So how about you?  In what ways are you helping to bear your share of the load in your family, career, church and community?  Add your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Bring your best manners, please.

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