Lessons From Geese: A Reminder
"There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church."1
Fascinated by the conduct of flying geese, Dr. Robert McNeish, wrote "Lessons From Geese" for a sermon in his church in 1972. Demonstrating the power of a good idea, his essay spread and has become a classic statement of the importance of teamwork.
Fact: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Fact: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on one another's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
Fact: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
Fact: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by one another in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
Fact: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to know what my God-given gifts are, develop them, and use them to work in harmony with others to help do your work in your church here on earth. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 12:5-7 (NTL).
2. Cited on Character Counts www.charactercounts.org. For verification of the author see research by Sue Widemark at: http://suewidemark.com/lessonsgeese.htm.