Personae – Part 2                                                                                     


If I am a good planner for one day then I am a boring planner for another, where I cannot even look under the sun to see the future.  So if I am not a good planner, then maybe I should just get appealed by a fish tank, or bird watch or something until the great planners plan the way.

Nobody even wants to consult a boring planner as it would make their enthusiasm sink or make them want to run away.  Sometimes I just like to take it as it comes and ‘hooray’ when all goes well without a single plan made, I kind of conclude that planning can be a waste of time. Well, I know that’s not true, sometimes it may happen by fluke, but not all the time.

By far, the word ‘planner’ is also defined as – administrator, architect, executor, designer, and creator.  I would however argue that a successful planner sets the foundation to strategic lifestyle of wisdom living, which may often be neglected by some in the ongoing process of managing life.

Thomas A. Edison quotes:

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

So I am going to look into each of these words on planning:





Honest purpose


Forethought – I have realized that before I say or do anything, I might have to ask the question “What can be anticipated from my reaction?” would I still do it?  It’s always healthier and wiser to take precaution before you retort.  Take time to plan your thoughts, and your words would be right, and when your words are right, your actions would be commendable.

System – we all grow up in unique ways, because we are all so different from each other.  Some build their lives with systems in place; others are disoriented and constantly live at a loss of keeping their lives in order. Great leaders are great thinkers who plan and maintain their life in a systematized manner, and people love their minds and try to imitate them in their life.  Planning your studies, career, work, marriage, finances, children are fundamental for all, so that you face no regrets in life. Planning will keep you on course in achieving your goals and objectives.

PlanningAbraham Lincoln reportedly once said, “If I had 60 minutes to cut down a tree, I would spend 40 minutes sharpening the ax and 20 minutes cutting it down.”

Steven Covey calls planning ‘sharpening the ax.’ You have to take time to make time. Planning is the difference between being reactive and proactive. When you don’t plan, you end up responding to the day’s events as they occur. 

Dale Carnegie told a similar story of two men who were out chopping wood. One man worked hard all day, took no breaks, and only stopped briefly for lunch. The other chopper took several breaks during the day and a short nap at lunch. At the end of the day, the woodsman who had taken no breaks was quite disturbed to see that the other chopper had cut more wood than he had. He said, “I don’t understand. Every time I looked around, you were sitting down, yet you cut more wood than I did.” His companion asked, “Did you also notice that while I was sitting down, I was sharpening my ax?”

Intelligence – An intelligent person is one who is gifted with brains, it’s mostly inherited – like getting math, or music or an ability to speak various languages – a degree of sophisticated knowledge. When we use this intelligence in the area of planning our life and career or ministry, then it’s the result or product of becoming smart. Because some people can be intelligent but have an unwise lifestyle.

Honest purpose – A good planner makes an honest contribution toward life and life’s events for their own or for others. You may make lots of plans, but if it’s haphazard or loosely connected, then be sure it will be a flop.  Plan with a purpose, so that you relish in what you plan.

Perspiration – Success in planning is not possible without some toil, strategizing and learning how to do it. It requires time, all of your brains, focused, dedication and not forgetting your energy. For people who don’t want any of this; they would pick up the last-minute scurrying, with a head filled with a load of tension, and a face crying out for help.  So no pain, no gain!  With a little perspiration, I think you can save yourself from a lot of havoc.

I would like to mention here about Stan-M who is an intricate planner:

His planning skills show his organized style of doing things, not to be self-serving but to be service oriented.  If Stan-M has planned an event for us, we can all be secure because seldom things will go wrong.  He would have organized it so beautifully well that he takes away the burden of any worst nightmare.

His life is governed and built upon talents and skills which are well sharpened through teaching, training, planning and discipleship. Though Stan-M plans travels, seminars, events, camps, programs to the minute detail, he would still be open to propositions, considering facts, being people oriented and service, makes him a leader who’s remarkably looked up to.

Attaining success and contentment in his work did not come on a platter with everything laid out in an institutionalized manner.  It was an uphill task facing failures and victories, disappointments and successes. In all of this God faithfully guided and protected him.

His weakness however was bad planning in the area of finances:

Arising debts in the beginning of Stan-M’s career and family life, forced him to take up tuition’s for a period of time to supplement financial needs.  As a result saving for anything was found to be impossible.  He was someone who really wanted to come out of debt.

I believe he could have walked past the Men’s store, Gift store or a Shoe shop without blinking – do you know why? Because he knew all of that stuff can wait.

Responsibility matched up well with his sense of patience – brought him and his family – to a place of a debt free life.  He looks back to thank God for His faithfulness in enabling him to continuously provide for his family and for the work of Service.

Learning lesson on health issues:   

Experienced a burn out situation due to spinning many plates and being frantically busy to keep track of a lot of things.  This caused him to be late in tasks due to administration overload.  Eventually the high stress levels reflected an unhealthy body maintenance bringing many surgeries for Stan-M, over the years.  With no sporting, neglected health, exceptionally hospitable with an open home, endeavoring for changes, constantly assertive for progress, each day took a toll on his health.

Through these hard lessons, he learnt to discipline his life with wise planning of his time and energy, regarding work and personal life.  Now he enjoys a much disciplined and strategic lifestyle in all areas of his life.

Stan-M’s daughter – Priscilla Roxburgh comments on his planning skills:

What always inspires me about my dad as a leader is his amazing ability to have foresight and vision. He is able to anticipate changes and be ready for them. The ability to think ahead for everyone else and start paving the way is what makes him a leader of leaders. That coupled with his meticulous attention to microscopic detail rarely allows for error and he is able to accommodate sudden changes with ease.

The standing joke when we were organizing my wedding to Peter was that anyone who was helping out at the wedding was emailed a 14-page document that broke the day down into minute detail. Of course – everything went off ridiculously smoothly and that document has become a template for many other weddings.  I recently organized a large conference for my work and I was amused to realize how many things I have inadvertently picked up from my dad over the years and I am so thankful for it.

Another thing that always impresses me is his desire to always be the learner. He’s always eager to learn about the latest thing – whether it is a book, a new development or a gadget! He will take the time to read study and decide whether the movement should imbibe it or not. It’s a great leadership trait.

I think a large part of anything I do in leadership comes from things I have learnt or inherited and that is a privilege.



  Mr. Stanley & wife Esme

Stan-M now retired from Bombay Baptist Church, but still travels to minister and conducts teaching seminars to all the churches under Gateway Ministries International. He has passed on the baton to his forerunner to advance the Equipping of the Church, Extending the Kingdom and Blessing the Nations.

by florence selvan



Truthful Humility

Whenever I thought of the word “humility”, I used to think that it describes someone who is downcast and whose frame is stooped low to show he is just a nobody and good for nothing human being.

But when I read a C. S. Lewis quote on humility where he said – Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. – I thought wow what a statement!

Every one of us is created in a unique way and we have distinctive abilities – no two people are alike in thoughts, words and deeds.  So to think of ‘yourself less’ is not to degrade or reduce your self-worth to nothing, but to think of others “better than yourself”.

  • I had a boss who said with pride “I am the best boss in the world” and so he would treat all of his subordinates and even his superiors as rubbish. He was this ‘I know it all’ kind of a leader.  He would backbite about almost everyone not even sparing his wife, and in his words reduce them to nothing.  In a period of a few months he was terminated, as he was found guilty of fraud in the company’s business dealings.

There is always something lacking in you that others have!  Be it intelligence, understanding, love, compassion, proficiency, tolerance, perseverance, self-control, faithfulness, goodness and meekness.

  • For instance, if you are excellent in intelligence but lacking faithfulness in your marriage, be humble to appreciate the ones who are faithful and consider learning from them as this virtue brings joy and happiness in a relationship. Do likewise for other qualities too.

As humble

  • Abraham Lincoln described humility in this way – not arrogant, haughty or conceited; unpretentious and unassuming; modest, courteous, respectful, teachable and selfless. Lincoln’s example of strong but gentle leadership has been studied and applauded for generations.

I began thinking as to whether I was guilty of any of these and I found the answer to be ‘yes, to more than one’.

  • One day my pride took a hit when I thought I could do it better than others and did not need any advice or training. When the actual test questions came in, they caught me by surprise and I felt mildly hysterical, in shock, bewildered and embarrassed.

On the other hand, my friend, who was so unassuming and down to earth, excelled!

This experience humbled me and I guess it was a lesson in order for me to learn the virtue of humility.  Many people do not like it when you blow your own horn, no matter how smart, successful, good-looking and how special you are.

Arrogance is always disliked.

most humble

  •  Hugh Jackman, the actor just turned in an incredible performance as Jean Valjean in the movie version of the musical Les Miserables. While many actors and celebrities are arrogant, Hugh’s humility shines through in interviews, as he speaks of how grateful he is for this opportunity, how hard the role was, and how great it was to work with amazing people.
  • The star of the basketball team could score a tremendous amount of baskets in any given game, but instead he takes lots of opportunities to pass the ball to his teammates so they can try to score as well. This shows the athlete’s humility.
  • Even though Kate Middleton married into British royalty, she still likes to do her own grocery shopping and cooking. She is humble enough to take care of her own chores, even though she has people to aid her in her responsibilities.

Some quotes on humility:

  • When you’re as great as I am, it’s hard to be humble ~ Muhammad Ali
  • Pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real ~ Thomas Merton
  • The bible talks about Jesus as “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Philippians Chapter 2, verse 8.

In the Bible, we observe that Jesus modeled humility and humility ~ is acknowledged as this ~ that by ourselves we are inadequate and without value.  It is only because we are created in God’s image that we have immeasurable value and dignity.

perfect example of humility

True humility:

Therefore, humility has its roots in the understanding of “Who we are” and “Whose we are”; when we get this, it produces a whole lot of gratitude in us.

  • A sinner needs to be condemned ~ and that’s what & who we are!
  • But we are intentionally created by an omnipotent God who made us in His own image and then loved us so much that He gave His life for us ~ proves that we are of “great value”!

you are precious

We are all greatly prized:

Humility is realizing the importance of others.  It is not putting yourself down and under, but lifting others up ~ like saying “If I am considered precious to God then so are you”.

It’s really important to practice humility!


Fred Smith ~ “People with humility don’t deny their power, they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them”.

Let us take care to demonstrate humility that does not arise from lack of love, confidence, capability and self-image.   But let it come from the fact of knowing who we are and whose we are.

This will permit us to trust and respect people as they are, with their strengths and weaknesses, and not to condemn and reject them.

  • Humble people don’t insist on everything being done their way, they ask for help.
  • Humble people are always attractive as they develop into better leaders and better persons. Those who are egocentric will be resisted.
  • A humble person sees his/her own weaknesses and can readily admit to them; they are also quick to forgive.
  • A humble person happily serves other people, and they don’t do it to be seen. They do it unto God, knowing their reward will come from God.

As we grow older we realize how important humility is!

It is not late to make changes to our attitude, though it may not change overnight, but as we trust in His grace we can begin to develop an attitude of humility and discover that life is so much happier and peaceful without pride!

So happy humility!