For the past couple of years I have known Jessica, a leader in one of the churches I work with in Nicaragua. I came to know Jessica as a strong woman in every sense of the term. She served as a church leader, sang in worship, helped run a successful family business (in a neighborhood where that is a rarity), and purposefully hired troubled and non-Christian workers so she could evangelize and disciple them. I’ll likely never forget being invited to her business to evangelize and pray for these young men. Unfortanetly, like many in Nicaragua, Jessica was in a difficult marriage. Her husband had little to do with God or her, and had major substance abuse issues. After many attempts to help him she finally saw divorce as the safest option for her and her children, and informed her husband of this a couple of months ago. Her husband became so enraged that he brutally murdered her, before taking his own life. They leave behind three beautiful children that are currently being raised by their grandmother.
This is an extreme tragedy, although not as rare in Nicaragua as you would think. It stems from a major societal problem, which is how men define being a man. Being a man is all about bravery, strength, success, being in charge, and being independent. It’s machoism on Red Bull infused protein shakes with a shot of whiskey. Among many problems, its led to churches being only 30% men, and countless broken marriages. While things may not seem quite so extreme in America, I still feel we often have a pretty warped idea of what it means to be a man. It’s doing manly things (hunting, motorcycles, weightlifting) and avoiding girly things (music, dancing, and more). It’s about being in charge, being independent, and exerting an outer and inner strength. Its about muscles, beards, and listing all sorts of manly achievements.
Interstingly, very little of anything I’ve talked about is spoken of in the Bible when it comes to what manhood is all about. See, manhood is not about strength, accomplishments, or power, it’s about servanthood. God calls us as men first and foremost to be servants to Him and to others. Here’s what Paul tells Timothy about being a man:
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. I Timothy 6:11-12
See, being manly has nothing to do with all those things the world screams at us. Rather, it’s about living out our faith in God by being his servants in all that we do and say. So this week, lets tone down our attempts to prove how macho we are, instead ask ourselves: how am I doing serving this week? Have I served my wife well? My Children? How about my neighbor, my God, and my church? How am I really doing at being the servant God?