On June 15 we will celebrate Father’s Day, a day that will see a dramatic increase in grilling, fishing, camping and other manly activities. But what does it mean to be a man? The conventional definition of manhood tells us that true manliness requires brute strength, the ability to handle a gun, lots of cash, a way with women, a broad knowledge and passion for sports and a cool beard for added bonus points. But manliness is much more than physical anatomy or the ability to grill a steak. Instead, I want to share with you a four part definition for what Dr. Robert Lewis calls, “Authentic Manhood.”
First, real men reject passivity. Most of the atrocities in history have taken place because good men have stood by and done nothing. They have been too passive. The same is true today. We see the women (God bless them) carting kids around, connecting with schools, involved in education, training their children morally, taking them to church and engaged in discipline. But where are the men? Oftentimes, they are standing in the shadows, disengaged and at times disinterested. The authentic man rejects passivity and takes a proactive approach to loving his wife and kids and training them spiritually.
Second, real men accept responsibility. God has given men a work to do and a family to love. Authentic men accept the responsibility that comes with each. They don’t abandon the emotional needs of their wife and kids but rather devote themselves to their family. They also recognize that they have a responsibility in life to serve others. In the same way, they accept the responsibility of finding their calling and purpose in life and walking in it.
Third, real men lead courageously. Courage is not the absence of fear. Instead, it is the ability to move forward and lead in spite of your fears. To quote John Wayne, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” When a brave man takes a stand, other people are emboldened. Real men understand that they are responsible to lead and after listening to God and others, they make tough decisions and move forward.
Finally, real men invest eternally. They know they only have one life to live and one shot at raising their kids and investing in others. What will matter most as a person prepares to meet his maker? At the end of the day it will only be the things that last for eternity. Jim Elliot, the great missionary to Ecuador once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”
This Father’s Day could be a day where you decide to leave conventional manhood behind and pursue what it really means to be an authentic man. Join me and the men at Radiant as we strive to reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously and invest eternally.
Information provided by Brian Jones, pastor, Radiant Church, 1300 Metro East Drive, Suite 106, Pleasant Hill, 515-689-7145.