As I sit here contemplating Men’s Ministry today in my church and in America in general, I find myself focusing on a few disturbing realities that have come forth from recent studies and messages I have heard: Where have the men of God gone?
Specifically, one can look to society and see that all things “manly” are becoming more and more distorted. Follow me for a moment: Society paints the modern American male as one of many things, 1) A super over the top bravado adrenalin junky , 2) A modern renaissance man of emotions and feelings, or 3) A lost boy who never grew up and is content pretending he doesn’t have to, and the list goes on I am sure. Don’t believe me? Just watch a few hours of night time television and tell me what you find, I bet bottom dollar I can boil 99% of the characters down to one of the categories. Now that said, so what?
Well, for starters I find it rather difficult to find a man of God mentioned in scripture that firmly fits only into one of the categories above. Are there men in the bible that do, you bet, but I may argue that those men were not the models of biblical manhood that God was seeking to point out. Rather, God and His Word does provide a cross section of amazing men of God that are anything, but typical, especially by today’s societal standards here in America. In fact, these men are rare breeds that tend to pull from all categories, but above all else do so for the sake of God’s Kingdom. These men are physically strong, mentally tough, emotionally caring, God fearing, and God serving men!
But what have we become in the church? Do you think you live up to the standard of the bible of a “biblical man”? As we look to our pews and seats these days we see fewer and fewer men in general. Society has done a number on the image of the church, for church for many men has been painted as a sign of weakness or something those who are not any of the above do to fill voids in their lives. Even worse society continues to attempt to mold men and women into something of it’s own design rather than that of the design God had for us. These are the lies the enemy has weaved for decades and the American church is now left looking for it’s men.
To further the point Ben Mandrell Pastor of Storyline Fellowship in Denver, CO recently went one step further to ask the more troubling question of, “Where have all the Jonathan’s Gone?” In other words, where are all the physically strong, mentally tough, emotionally caring, God fearing, and God serving men that we as followers of Christ have been called to be?(Source: Ben Mandrell – Biblical Manhood – 1 Samuel 14 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.)
Ben takes a story from the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 14 that focuses on Jonathan. Jonathan was a son of Saul and served in his great army. But being a man of God, and frankly simply being a man, he sought his armor-bearer and went off alone to take on a camp of Philistines near by. In this action Jonathan had not told his father of his intentions and literally went on his way alone, but in the faith of God that victory would be for the Lord that day. In his risk and in his faith, Jonathan inspired his armor-bearer and the people through actions. Jonathan took a risk for God and God was glorified.
So what is the point and what did Pastor Mandrell bring forth? The point is this: 1) Men were created different than women. One can go back to Genesis and look to the creation ordinance of Adam and see that He was given specific tasks that varied from Eve. This is by God’s design and therefore it has purpose. 2) We need to take more risks for God. If Jonathan had not taken the risk he took in faith, the victory would not have been won. In this action we see all the bravado of man, but also that of a faithful heart in the Lord. Real men aren’t simple men of childish bravado, but that of faith, courage, and responsibility. In Christ all things are possible and the men of the bible show us this image of manhood. It’s time that we in the church dig back into our bibles and start living in our lives the way men like Jonathan did and stand up and take risks in faith.
God created us this way men, when are we going to start acting like it? When will the Jonathan’s step up and take a risk for the kingdom?
As a nation we face our 13th anniversary of the terror acts upon our country. Many lives were lost and in the following 13 years even more lives were lost on the battlefield in an attempt to make this world a safer place.
Father God, I pray this morning for all of those deeply impacted by this horrific event and the following years of turmoil. Father, I pray for those who bravely took to the stairs in efforts to fight a fire that they may have never reached. Father, I pray for those who ran towards those two buildings in New York instead of away in a time of need. Father I pray for those at the Pentagon and those who demonstrated how these colors do not run. And Father I pray for those souls lost aboard those aircraft.
As we lift up all impacted, we also ask to remember those in uniform that answered the call of their nation’s military to go forth and fight those who sought to destroy us. We pray for their sacrifices, their families, and for their on-going safety as this war has not yet come to a conclusion.
Father we also pray for our leadership as a country. Times are difficult and the enemy is banging on the door at our every turn. Father give our leaders them wisdom, give them a heart for you, and give them peace in their decisions. For we know you are the One True God and we worship you Father. Thank you for your grace, your love, your mercy and your actions upon the cross that we might know you and live in eternity with you.
Father we also pray for those who also do not know you. The darkness pushes in during these times, but your light is strong. Father open the hearts and minds of those who seek you and those who do not know your glory. For it is In You all things are possible and the enemy destroyed! Give them peace in the Cross and in your Son Jesus.
It is in all these things we pray in your glorious Son’s name, AMEN.