All men are created to be leaders. That doesn’t mean that we are all the boss, in command or the “top dog”. Often leadership includes leading under authority or in the mundane. To lead means to live integrity, make godly decisions and act as a man of God. We distort that in American culture – often even in the church.
When we look at “leaders,” we hardly ever see the servant leadership described by Jesus. Oh, we’ll talk about our “servant leaders” and what they “sacrifice” for the flock, but it rarely looks like Philippians 2:3-8, Luke 22:24-27 and John 13:3-17 (yes, I expect you to read those). The guys we watch, read and listen to, who presumably present the wisdom of God, don’t show that wisdom in accordance to James 3:13-18. It all begins with humility.
Not humility that exists to draw attention to itself – “Look at my humility. I’m so proud of it”. It is not playing the humble game to cover up our controlling nature. It is not also the self-loathing or poor self-image that masquerades as humility. It is the humility that recognizes the power and place of God’s Spirit in us. With His Spirit we can act decisively, speak with authority and lead with considerable influence that results in a light that shines before men to the Glory of our Father in Heaven.
Pushing Back the Dark
As God’s kingdom comes and rules in more and more areas of our life, we can begin to push back the Darkness around us. In Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, there is a darkness that is spreading throughout the universe. As it envelops planets it subjugates the inhabitants in a form of thought slavery. Every now and then, as Darkness threatens to consume a world, a star would burn brightly and push back the Darkness until it burned out. In the “death” of the star, Darkness would be delayed and light ruled for awhile longer. That is what we do. We bring light into dark places and push back the darkness proclaiming God’s righteous rule and redemption where we stand – until we burn out.
Men are uniquely suited for this.
Look at our movies. In 300, King Leonidas dies for the idea of a free Sparta. In Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller gives his life to bring a soldier home. In Braveheart, William Wallace dies for a free Scotland. In The Passion of The Christ, the character Jesus dies for all humanity. ;p It is built in us to find a great deal of meaning in sacrificing ourselves in service to a greater good. We can endure nearly anything if we believe it matters.
What Really Matters
The problem is nobody knows what really matters anymore. So men spend themselves in the service of self, accomplish nothing of lasting significance and leave all sorts of chaos and pain in their wake (like we learned in 33 The Series). To do what’s right because it’s right even when no one is looking, to do the “unimportant,” mundane things with integrity, to give up our pleasure in the moment to bring God’s Glory into the Dark – that is where manhood lives.
In The Magnificent Seven (quite possibly the best Man Movie of all time (see also, the Seven Samurai), Charles Bronson’s character. tells three boys the meaning of bravery, responsibility and manhood. Like so many of us, the boys see the glamor of a gunfighter. His freedom, his strength, prestige, money – all the self-centered and self-absorbed characteristics we tend to harbor and feed in the darkness of ourselves, and, if we are honest, we admit we aspire to obtain for ourselves. But, he tells them, true bravery is found in the mundane responsibilities that are done simply for love.
I am crucified in Christ, therefore I no longer live . . .
Don’t settle for anything less than being the man God created you to be – just like your big brother, Jesus.