“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Proverbs 13:22).
“Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (II Corinthians 12:14).
“Be a Man!” When we were boys, my brother Rick would say this to me after he slugged me and made cry. Brothers can be the best of friends and they can also be very cruel to one another. Rick was 6 years older than I was and without a father in our home at the time, he was the only male role-model in our home and at times, quite the bully.
Be a man. Wow! What volumes of pain and suffering in this world would be avoided if the husbands, fathers and leaders of our world would truly be men. To be a man, has been my personal quest since I was very young. I wasn’t quite sure as a boy, what a man was, but something in my heart and mind told me that to be a man was something honorable and good.
Coming from a dysfunctional family, my understanding of the role of a man has been blurred to say the least. Looking back at my childhood, I realize that the example of a good man was never shown to me. In my early years of being a father, I realized this when I began feeling and expressing a father’s love to my children. It was then that I realized that I had never truly been the benefactor of such caring, protective love. Painful memories flooded my mind often as I would compare the careful love my children received from my wife and I, with the careless and even abusive treatment my bothers, sisters and I received at the hands of our parents.
It was at this point in my life, that I realized I was more a true man than anyone in my family had ever modeled before me. No parent, grandparent, or uncle had shown me what it was to be a man. Their own dysfunctional upbringings had so marred their lives that they were incapable of it. I also realized that I had a Heavenly Father who had been and was my example.
We hear a lot about mentors these days. I myself have 3 men who are my mentors. I’m not sure they all know it. But, I have patterned my life and ministry after the example they have led in my life. As well, I also mentor more than one young minister. My Heavenly Father is my dearest mentor. As a young father, I would often ask myself, “How would my Heavenly Father react to this situation?” If I asked myself how my earthly father would react or respond to a given situation, I would get a host of harmful or dangerous answers. Yet, when I would ask myself how my Heavenly father would respond, I would get an answer that was helpful and healthy to my children.
I am a student of my heavenly father. I not only want to be a good father by His example, but I also want to be as good a man as he is. Jesus’ example to men is by far the best example that anyone could follow. His manhood did not allow him to shirk his responsibility to humanity. It was his maleness that caused him to robe Himself in flesh and suffer for you and I. You might say that it was his Divinity or His God-ness that would cause such an act. I would argue that His maleness was the element of His Divine makeup that caused Him to risk everything to save His children. A true Father would do that. A genuine man would die for his children and His friends. Without hesitation, he would suffer as Jesus suffered for us. If it meant that my children would not have to live with pain and sickness as I have seen in this world, I would suffer the same beating that Christ suffered at the whipping post. Why? Because a real man would do that for His children.
We live in a world that does not understand or appreciate good men. In fact, we elect men of questionable character into public office every year. William Jefferson Clinton was one of the worst embarrassments this proud country ever had to endure. The nations of the world scoffed and ridiculed us for having such a man as our national leader. Yet, we held him high as our President. We gave him the same careful respect that we gave the many other honorable men who have lead this country. And at each turn, he took this country farther and farther away from the virtuous values that our great country was founded upon.
Where are the men? Where are the fellows who would rise up and say, “Follow Me!”, and be someone worth following. Where are the great leaders of public office and church who would lead us to righteousness and Truth. Have we come so far in the wrong direction, that there is no way to return to our God given roles as fathers and men? It used to be that men were chosen to public office because of their good character. Now, he is chosen by the personal profit the voter would receive by his being elected. Political campaigns are no longer public endorsements of a man’s good character and ability to lead, but now they are advertisements telling voters what they will gain personally if the man is elected. Who cares if the man is of extremely questionable character, as long as taxes go down and gross pay goes up.
I want to be a good man. In my old age, I want to be the honorable Patriarch of my children’s children. When they need Godly advice, I pray that my life would be of such example that they would consider my counsel valuable. Proverbs 13:22 is speaking of more than financial wealth. I believe it is speaking of the example a good man would give to his children. I have spent most of my adult life making decisions and choices that are incorrect, because no good example was given to me as a child. My point of reference in life has had no true bearing. My life has not had the advantage of a righteous father’s influence.
Admittingly, I have envied the fellows around me whose fathers are Godly men. I wonder how my life might have been different if I could have had such good influence. At the same time, I am so very thankful that my own son could have the influence of a Godly father. He is such a precious soul, and I pray that my example to him would somehow affect my family into the next generation. My prayer is that he would become a better man than myself, so that his influence would touch the lives of my great grandchildren.
“Be A Man.” What a high calling. What an honorable place. Many ministries would still be intact if that minister would have been a truly good man. Many families would still be together if that husband would have understood what it meant to “be a man”.
“Be A Man, Be A Good Man”