Mr. Willie Robertson: When you get Jesus in you, you won’t be as scared, because guess what? We’re not even built for this life. We’re built for something way beyond here.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Willie Robertson is our featured speaker today on Focus on the Family. You host is Focus president Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, we have a great message to share today on leadership. And as you said, our guest is Willie Robertson of A&E’s VERY popular program Duck Dynasty. Willie is CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander in West Monroe, Louisiana. He’s authored four books and he really has a warm and engaging speaking style.
John: Mm hmm.
Jim: And I know you’re going to be entertained by this message. It was recorded in the fall of 2016, about five months before Duck Dynasty completed their five-year run on television.
John: And here now is Willie Robertson speaking at Living Word just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota on Focus on the Family.
Willie: I’m so excited to be here. I’ve never spoken in, uh, Minnesota. (Imitating Minnesota Accent) And, uh…
Willie: Oh. (Imitating Minnesota Accent)
Willie: Oh. (Imitating Minnesota Accent) I will tell you. Besides the Lord himself, I’ll tell you who – who really pulled this off to get me here, um, was a guy that worked for me named Kyle Tengwall. He lived out near Anooooka. (Imitating Minnesota Accent)
Willie: Oh. Likes to get Diet Coke. (Imitating Minnesota Accent)
Willie: And I have fun with him every day. I cannot get enough of his accent. I don’t have one. So…
Willie: But he has one. Kyle, thank you for this opportunity. I’ve been getting excited about it. Uh, we’re still shooting Duck Dynasty. Um…
Willie: That’s going to help me to make it through shooting Duck Dynasty. I’m going to remember that clap because it’s kind of like sausage. You know, making sausage is kind of, you know – that’s kind of what making TV’s like. It’s a long process. I am not complaining. I just didn’t realize that, uh, right now we’re filming our 130th episode. So, it’s a lot of episodes.
Willie: So, um, yeah. It’s been good. God’s blessed us so much. Um, never would have dreamed. I get asked all the time, “Would you have ever thought this was going to happen?” No. It’s impossible to know, um, that. We were shooting a show that – and we put a prayer at the end of it. And I’ll be honest. To us, it didn’t seem like a big deal. We prayed normally before our meals. And so, putting it on television, I never really thought that the impact it would have. But it resonated, not just in America – you gotta understand. It’s in countries all over the world. So, like it or not, when you turn that TV on, sitting in somebody’s living room all across the world, there’s a prayer to God piped in. And it went right through Hollywood, right through New York. And if you’d asked me, I’d have said, “There’s no way they’ll ever do this.” And guess what? God has a way, doesn’t He? So, give Him the glory. (APPLAUSE)
Willie: (Laughter) So tonight, I’mma talk a little bit about leadership because it’s a leadership conference. So, um…
Willie: I don’t even think of myself as a leader. I really don’t. But there’s a lot of leaders in our family. I am from a family of leaders, strong leaders. Um, I do run the business along with my wife. She probably – let’s be honest, she does more than I do at the (laughter). Those two guys are going, “Yeah, they do.” So, uh, but there’s different types of leadership styles. So, whether you’re in business, church or families, we need to make sure that we pattern, you know, how we lead people after the right people, right?
Um, and I want my attitude to be like Christ Jesus. So, the first person I’m gonna look at is God Himself that walked around on this Earth. Philippians chapter 2 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taken the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in an appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on Earth and under the Earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.” Isn’t that awesome? That Jesus did that for us? Um, so we can’t lead unless we know Who exactly led us. And it starts off so strange, right? He – Jesus was teaching us a lesson before He even got here ’cause He had already figured out, “I’m gonna come down there and become one of you.” So, let’s contrast Jesus and what He’s done to our leaders that we see today. Ha ha.
Willie: Who are these people that lead us? Who are the people? They’re the wealthy. They’re the highly educated. They are the very well-connected. They’re lawyers. This one’s funny. They’re athletes and ex-athletes. I never figured that out. They’re ex-pro wrestlers. I said that just because I’m in Minnesota.
Willie: (Laughter) It’s true. That’s a leader. Celebrities, believe it or not. Uh, and there’s others, but let’s face it. A lot of the people who – who we view as leaders, are these kind of people, right? And these are the people that we think, uh, have it together. Um, how did they get to the top? And let’s be honest. I mean, how do people a lot of times get to the top? Not everyone, but they kind of step all over each other, right? Don’t we stomp each other in the ground trying to get ahead of someone else. We climb that ladder in this dog-eat-dog society. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying, and the big rewards go for the big performances.
I’ve gotten a chance to actually hang out with some leaders, uh, believe it or not. This – this is where I’m really going to name-drop, OK? So – so Korie and I are going to the White House Correspondents’ dinner. We were invited by the Robertsons – that’s who it is, 700 Club. So we’re going to sit at their table. And so, we’re walking in. Korie’s on the phone with her mom. And she goes, “Yeah, we’re going in. We’re gonna meet the President.” And I said, “Korie, we’re not meeting the President. There’s thousands of people here. It’s a dinner. Like, we’re going to see him speak.” And this is the funny one, where they – the comedians are there, and everybody kind of – it’s a light thing. And she goes, “Oh, okay. Willie says we’re not meeting the President.” And I said, “We’re just – we’re going in to sit down.” So, I walk in – we walk in the front door. People’s everywhere. Guy walks up, earpiece. “Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, the President would like to see you both.” Korie said, “I told you we’re gonna meet the President.”
Willie: So, I’m walking, and I look up, and, like, I’m in line behind, like, Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And I’m like, “This is unbelievable.” So, we get up. There’s, like, a little dungeon area behind this thing. And so, we go up, meet the President. He’s very nice, says some kind things, loves the show. He actually says he watches. “I watched Duck Dynasty on Air Force One,” which I thought was kind of cool. He gave me some cuff links. And I didn’t know whether to say, like, “Mr. President, I’m not really a cuff link guy.” I just took ’em. I said, “We’ll sell that on eBay, so…”
Willie: Nah, I still have ’em. I didn’t sell the cuff – I still have ’em.
Willie: So, it was pretty cool. I came home. Told all my buddies. I was like, “You’ll never believe what just happened.” So, I’m kind of a big deal. And, um…
Willie: Just when you think you’re a big deal, this happens. So, I’m at, uh, Daytona. They’re doing a car race thing. They asked some celebrity – I don’t know what I was – probably saying a prayer or doing something. So, I’m there, and, uh, Governor Scott walks up from Florida. And I was like, “Oh, how you doing, Governor?” And, um, he said, “How are you?” He said, ” I am so – man, it’s so nice to meet you.” I said, “Thank you, Governor.” He said, “I love your music. And I saw your concert, and it was unbelievable.”
Willie: Now I knew he thought I was Zac Brown. I didn’t even correct him. I said, “Thank you, Governor. I appreciate it. That’s awesome.”
Willie: Ten minutes later, his wife is dragging him back over. “Willie, I am so sorry that he did not recognize…” And he’s like – he like looking like, “Oh, I just – are there any cameras around?” I said, “It’s fine. It’s fine.” So, sometimes you’re a big deal. Sometimes people don’t even know who you are.
Willie: The last one I’ll tell you about was I was able to go and meet, uh, Billy Graham and, uh – at his house, like, like at his home. So, his daughter, they were fan – they all watch the show. And so, I had this chance, an offer, and I said, “Oh, oh, yeah. I’m there for sure.” So, I went up and I went in his room. And, you know, he was having a hard time hearing just, you know, ’cause he’s older. And his daughter said, “Daddy, this is Willie Robertson. He’s on a TV show. He came all the way from Louisiana to see you.” And he looked up, and he said, “To see me? Why would anybody want to see me?” And I was like, wow. Like, that’s what I want to be like, to where he sit – you talk about living that Philippians 2 as a leader and all he’s done, just to say, “Why would somebody come see me?”
That’s the leadership style of Jesus. Jesus always gave a view and a thought that was totally opposite than what the world’s view was, right? It was always different. Jesus was in this world but not of the world.
Leaders motivate. But what motivates us? That is the question. If you watched politics right now, you’ll see the world’s playbook – fear, money, jobs, security. All things of this world, right? You look around and you see that because fear will motivate you because people will get scared to death.
When you get Jesus in you, you won’t be as scared, because guess what? We’re not even built for this life. We’re built for something way beyond here.
Matthew 5, Jesus talks – it’s interesting to me because, um, Jesus – one of the first things He said was, He goes through and starts telling people kind of how to act. So, if you think about Matthew 5, it’s fairly early, right, in His ministry. (Pages Turning)
One of the first things He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit kingdom of earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Kind of a different list on leadership style, right? What does Jesus wants to be? Less, not more; not angry, not scream – He is telling them about rewards they’re gonna get, bonuses. Just think about how much we push ourselves to make more money, and more bonuses, and that next thing and that next thing when Jesus is – He’s offering things that He’s seen, right? He’s been there
So, you can imagine, if you come from heaven, and you’re telling people things that you’re like, “This’ll turn you on,” and as humans, we have a hard time even knowing what He’s talking about. And I’m sure Jesus is like, “These are the things that are gonna motivate you.”
John: You’re listening to Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty on Focus on the Family. And you can get a CD of this entire program to listen to again or share with a friend when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate online and request it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and hear more from Willie Robertson.
Willie: So, I started thinking – this may be silly, and I’ve never done it, but I started thinking…
Willie: …Because I want to motivate you, and I want you to be a better leader. And it’s probably going to be the opposite thing of what you’re thinking. So, I thought, well how – what would that be like? I always think about what it’s like for Jesus to leave where He came from, come down here. I used to say ants – you – like, us becoming an ant. Now I thought, “What if I were able to go and, let’s say, be a duck?”
Willie: (Duck Call Noises) I’m a duck. Now I’ve got to explain to other duck things – not duck men. I’ve got to explain to them things that they don’t understand, but I can’t talk because I’m a duck. (Duck Call Noises) See how difficult that would be? (Duck Call Noises) And I’m just thinking about Jesus trying to tell human beings how awesome these things are gonna be, when He says, “You’re going to get something that’s beyond that.” I would tell a duck, “OK, here’s the deal. Make sure if you sit down, make sure that you’re sitting by things that aren’t plastic, OK? They look just like us.” (Duck Call Noises)
Willie: “And if it’s got a big, like, wad of sticks beside it, stay away from that thing. I’m – barrels come out of there and smoke starts going. It’s awful. Don’t stop in West Monroe, Louisiana, either. There’re some guys with some beards there that have just really done a hurting on the ducks over the years. Your best thing to do – just live on a golf course. It’s safe. They don’t shoot you on a golf course.”
Willie: Jesus trying to explain this to human beings. How different than our leaders do we see? Jesus had this amazing way of giving simple stories, simple things. The greatest leader of all time teaching limited human beings. He was teaching us how to lead. Ultimately, He had to be sacrificed Himself. Guess what? That was a lesson. Knowing that He was gonna have to sacrifice Himself, God gave Him over to us human beings. And He taught one more lesson. You know, it takes action to be a good leader. The first thing you gotta do is follow. That’s another one of these opposite Jesus things He tells us. You want to lead? Follow. Are we leading or we following?
One of the best – my favorite person in the Bible is the Apostle Peter. I – this story of his life blows me away every day when I think about. So, Jesus comes up – you know the story. Jesus comes up, a couple of boats there. Peter’s a fisherman, all right? I like that. We used to be fishermen. Um, so Peter’s there. They’ve been fishing all day. They ain’t caught nothing. Jesus gives them a little lesson, and Jesus says, “By the way, go ahead and throw the nets out. Go out there in deep stuff.” Jesus is not a professional fisherman, okay? Peter is. That’s what – he’s living his life. What does Peter do? “Master, we’ve been trying this all day. We ain’t caught anything… But if you…” All He done was teach him a lesson, right? So, whatever He’d said at least got him interested enough to go try to. “You said go do it, we’ll go do it.”
Throw the nets out. Almost sink the boat. Fish are everywhere. And what does Peter say? I love it. What does Peter – “Lord, get away from me. I’m a sinful man.” Isn’t that what we do as human beings? Don’t we let our sin – the first thing we do is push away from Jesus. Peter has no idea he’s standing there with a Guy who’s gonna take this sin away from him. But He doesn’t – Jesus doesn’t even bat an eye. He said, “It’s okay.” He says, “I’ll tell you what. You come follow Me. I’m gonna make you a fisherman of men.” What does Peter do? Drops everything he has and starts walking.
What I – I always think it’s interesting, he didn’t even take the fish. Like, he had all the fish that he caught.
Willie: Like, I’d at least say, “Okay, let me go to town real quick,” and be like, selfie with these things, and then least we can go then. Dropped it and followed. And I love that about Peter, that he just said, “Let’s roll. We rolling? Let’s roll.” Left everything.
Jesus looked way past Peter, is shortcomings, because He needed a follower. He needed followers. He saw past his sin, past his lack of vision, lack of faith. He saw a follower. He’s not looking for perfect people. He’s looking for followers. That’s what He’s looking for. If you’re gonna be a good leader, you better start by being a good follower. Okay?
If you don’t, you know what you’ll be? Luke chapter 18. You’ll be the rich ruler. Same opportunity was offered to this guy. You ever thought about that? And he was actually – he had a way better resume than Peter. Said, “I’ve done these things. I’m a pretty good guy.” Jesus looks right at him, said, “You’re a good guy, right? Sell everything you got and follow Me.” God Himself, the Creator of everything offered this guy a chance, a chance of a – literally, of a lifetime. The same thing Peter said, “Let’s roll,” this guy looked, and what’d he do? He walked away. And he was very sad, couldn’t do it. You know what happens when you don’t follow Him? You don’t get your name in the Bible. You’re just “the rich ruler.” You are forever known by the sin that kept you from being a follower. You’re just that guy. Peter took that chance. Peter followed. Now, Peter doesn’t remind me of me. I – I sometimes feel like Peter ’cause he had – Peter did some dumb things, but he was, like – he was so wanting to do stuff – he wanted to please the Lord so bad. He was a follower. You know what else he had? He had fearless faith. Fearless faith. Who’s the first one jumped out the boat? Remember Jesus strolling on the water? They all thought it was a ghost. “Oh, no.” Jesus said, “It’s okay. It’s Me.” And Peter’s like, “I’m – oh, yeah. I’m doing this. I’m getting right up on that water. I’m gonna walk there, too.” I think he made a few steps. And then like, “What the heck am I doing?” He started sinking. Jesus looks at him, “Peter.” You know he had to be like, “Peter, good try.”
Willie: “Good try.” Jesus at the end of His life. The guards are gonna come and take Him. Peter takes his sword – he’s trying to chop somebody’s head off. Caught the ear. Jesus is like, “Hang on…”
Willie: “… Not the way we’re going to do this.” That’s why I love Peter. I feel – ’cause I’m like that – do just the stupid things sometimes, and I’m like, “What am I thinking?”
And then the ultimate thing Peter did – Jesus says, “You know what? You’re going to deny me three times.” Peter says, “Nah. Never.” Three years, at least, of his life, walking, talking, all the miracles, all the things he’s seen, transfiguration, just all this stuff. “Do you know who Jesus is?” “Nope.” “You were with Him.” “Nope.” “Yes, that was you.” “No, that was not me.” Denied Christ three times. Probably the worst thing you can do. I know a lot of you are married. This is not saying you’re not married. This is saying, “I don’t even know my spouse.” That’s 10 years of counseling to get over that, right?
Willie: That’s a bad one. This is what Peter did. And what did Peter do? He starts bawling. See, leaders cry. It’s okay. When you screw up, you cry. Leaders do screw up, but leaders get back up. Leaders get back up, and they keep going. And that’s what Peter did over and over and over. Acts chapter 1, Jesus, whew, He gone. Acts chapter 2, it’s a big gathering of people. They huddle up. Somebody steps up. “Men of Israel, listen to this…” Peter! It didn’t take long. He got up off his face from just a few weeks earlier, got up and he’s preaching. The climate’s still bad, right? They just killed Jesus. Peter’s getting up and preaching. And he’s actually, like, “You, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross, but God raised Him from the dead.” And he’s preaching, and he’s preaching. At the end of the chapter, it says, “with many other words, he warned them and pleaded them, ‘Save yourself in this corrupt generation.” 2:37, “When they heard this, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Repent. Be baptized. You’ll get forgiveness of your sins. You’ll get the Holy Spirit in you.” They just had it before. Fire – looked like fire shooting out of their heads.
Willie: That’ll get you fired up, son.
Willie: Woo! I ain’t have no fire pouring out of my head. Peter did not want to be defined. He did not want to be that rich ruler. He didn’t want to be runaway Peter. He did not want to be defined that way. Jesus said, “That’s a rock I’m gonna build this whole church on – is right there.” And he followed Him when? All the way till He died. Same guy who denied Him.
That fires me up, people, because, look. I am sinful, I am broken, and I need Jesus. And when I read about people like that who get themselves back up, pick themselves back up, and they keep going, God can use you in amazing ways, all right? We all can be leaders. If you had told me 10 years ago, I’d be standing right here talking to you, I’d have thought, “I guess I got a preacher job and my other job didn’t work out.”
Willie: God used a television show to help a lot of people, and, um, we’re honored to be part of that. Love being with you. I hope you have a great conference. Father, I pray that we can be more like You. I pray that we can be more like Peter, Father, and the men that we read about in the Bible and the women who did so many amazing things and got this whole thing started. Two thousand years ago, Father, we are still talking about you. We are still thinking about You. We are still praising You. Father, we give You everything that we have, everything. And we give You all the glory. Thank you for the blood that saves us. We love You. Through Jesus, amen. Thanks, guys.
John: An enthusiastic crowd responding to Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, as our featured speaker today on Focus on the Family.
Jim: Wow, John. What an inspirational message. I really appreciate Willie’s leadership skills, as the CEO of Duck Commander, as the father of six and as a Christian man in the media. That’s not easy, as we know. Willie has written a book called American Entrepreneur, which looks at the history of our country by featuring it’s great business men and women. He also details how he transformed his father’s humble duck-call business into an international brand. And it’s a fascinating read.
John: Yeah. It’s quite a story and we have that book here. Support the work of Focus on the Family and request your copy when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or you can stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: And let me remind everybody, I hope you’ll get a copy of Willie’s book from Focus, rather than an online bookstore. When you shop with us, the proceeds go right back into ministry, not to shareholders or anybody else’s pocket. And as many of you know, the coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place orders crippled many businesses in the Spring, and many of those small business owners were supporters of Focus on the Family. So, we’re seeing a decrease in donations right now, but at the same time, we’re seeing an increase in the need for ministry. And Focus on the Family has responded to that need, by offering things like [email protected] which is a free digital library of excellent, Bible-based videos for both adults and children. So, we do need your support today, as we make every effort to help families thrive in Christ in any circumstance. And right now, generous friends of this ministry have offered to double your gift, making this a great time to give. You can double your impact today. And when you make a generous donation of any amount, I want to send you a copy of American Entrepreneur by Willie Robertson. That’ll be our way of saying thank you for standing with us in this ministry.
John: You can reach us when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate online and request that book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.