Men of the church! Or perhaps anyone else reading, let’s stop for a moment and think of the “manliest” man you’ve ever heard of. Who comes to mind? Tom Selleck? Ernest Hemingway? Theodore Roosevelt?
Now let’s stop and think of the manliest man that you’ve ever met. Is it your brother? Perhaps your father? Maybe a boss you’ve had? If the manliest man you’ve ever met is one of the three men mentioned above, please stop the presses, come find me and introduce me to Tom Selleck… or show me your time-machine so we can go back and meet the other two.
Look at these figures you have in your mind’s eye. Ask yourself what it is that makes these men so “manly.” Is it external features like great height, facial hair, and broad shoulders? Is it internal attributes like steadfastness, a calm demeanor, or irrepressible courage?
I’m willing to bet that the manly elements that you notice in the first group are very different from the manliness you note in the second.
We live in a culture that praises external features of manliness: a strapping figure bound in flannel & body-hair, felling mighty trees in a wood; or a battle-weary soldier fighting enemies in the face of death. Whoever it is that you remember as the manliest man in your own life, you likely remember them for their character and their ability to manage crisis and continue on.
Apart from character and crisis, manliness is often just a shallow series of external features.
Such manliness doesn’t really carry much weight in the realm of our personal influence. We may have had an uncle or father who drove big rigs for work and hunted deer for play but came home most nights drunk and abused their families.
Such manliness means little to others if it is not tempered and honed by a strong sense of character.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” as my buddy Colonel Roosevelt once said.
This year in ADVANCE we will be getting together five times to hear from five different men on what it is to be manly, but most importantly how God has used a crisis to shape these five men, and how God has used that to sharpen their character.
Let’s meet up on Saturday February 6th at 8:30AM for coffee, and to gather together to hear our own Steve DeSeve speak on how God helped him Dream Again in the midst of his world falling down around him.
I’ll see you there.