Walking down the mall I have seen many different forms of acceptable (and I use the term very loosely) examples of men today. We have all seen a tough guy before, you know which ones I'm talking about. The ones who think that being a man is dressing and acting the part. Foul language, a tough persona that shows no emotion, a rock that can take on anything. And at the other end is the man who is not sure if he is in fact a man. He is the one who for whatever the reasons has made a choice to be more of a woman than a man. Emotional, feminine, not aware of his masculinity. And then there is everything else in between. These are the board men, the weak men, the copy cat men who think that following the styles of this world will make them who they are. Then there are the lazy men, afraid in their hearts to do anything for fear they might actually prove something of themselves, or the ones who work, work, work in hopes that drowning themselves they will finally feel like they have proven themselves and maybe earned a little glory for themselves before the end.
But is this what being a man is all about? Is this all that any man has to look forward to? I do not believe it to be so, and I know in my heart there is more. To know for sure we must look to Jesus, the one true man to have ever walked this earth. Yes there have been a few men along the way but it is getting to be precious few as we travel the length of time. Jesus showed us that shedding a tear can show strength, courage. Taking time for the children can show honor, humility. Taking time to drive out the money makers in the temple could show us passion, boldness. And dieing for those he did not even meet, at least as the man, could show us nobility, love. Jesus was a real man but he did not drive himself to the grave from work. He waisted time at a well just so one woman might come to feel true love for the first time in her life. He cried over the pain and stupidity of others in a city because he knew that they were lost. He showed strength in a hot moment of passion and what it could do when controlled. Jesus was a man. And yet today we are afraid of him. So we change him to fit our own image, or rather we change him into something we no longer need to fear.
"Safe? Who said anything about being safe? Of course He isn't safe, But He's good."
What happens when a good man comes along? I will use a bit of scripture here to say what I think. I know it is a bit out of context but I still think it works. I think that when a real, or good man comes along the world is not worthy of him. The prophets spoken of in this passage from Hebrews were real men. Yes they made their mistakes and plenty of them, but they all had an unflinching faith in the one true man which is God. So when we see a true man today even with all of his mistakes I firmly believe the world is not worthy of such a man. Such a man knows what it means to live, not survive, but live. Such a man knows how to fight, not brawl, but stand firm in the face of the evils of this world and not flinch from duty, honor, valour, and truth. Such a man knows how to love, not the love of this world which is fleeting, childish, built on a selfish desire for one's own pleasure, but love, selfless, committed in the face of all trials and losses, sacrificial, strong and gentle to the very end, love. I hope one day those who knew me will be able to say those things of me.
I have met and known a few such men in my life and my life is the better for it, but there is one in particular I would like to call attention to. His name in this earth was Vince Bierly, but to me he was always "Pap". A few weeks ago my Pap went to be with his Creator, Jesus the Messiah. I know that right now he is happy as a lark to be in that wonderful place with no more pain or fears or problems. And I envy him, I know I would like to be there with him, but for the time being I am needed here to raise my own boys to become men and to love my wife with all the love I can give.
I do not know much of my Pap's life apart from the short span of it I was around. From the funeral service I learned of things like how happy he was about five years ago when he was in the hospital. He was never in the hospital so he thought it must have been serious and he was thrilled to think he was about to die to go be with Jesus. He didn't go just then though. And a few years ago he was talking in a group meeting or bible study or some such thing and he was sharing how much he still loved my Gram, even called her his little chickadee. During the war he helped to work on experimental engines for airplanes and helped to fix the air conditioners on troop trains bringing wounded home. If he had gone he might not have made it back from Europe. According to my Gram most of his unit did not return. He stood for what he believed in and had wisdom that was from a lifetime of walking with his God. He was a mountain man and loved the nature around him, the nature he knew came from his heavenly father. He was a man, a man after God's heart. Would such a man be recognized today?
I love my Pap, my Dad, and all the other men I have met in my life who have shown an integrity in their actions that the world would never understand. Do all these men make mistakes? I guess another way to answer that question is to ask if any of us are perfect? Since no one is perfect until death then yes, all these men make mistakes. What we do with our mistakes is the key to what kind of men we are. Do we love our wives forever, constantly pursuing them even when they are fifty, sixty....and do we stand for truth even if it gets us in trouble, looses a job....do we see our time as money, or time we can never get back so we should use it wisely? There is a whole host of things demanding our life and strength. Our noses were not made for a grindstone and our strength was not made for money. Our hearts, souls, strength, and character was made for God. What does He ask of us? You might say it is easier to give up, blend in, disappear, so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for us to decide.
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us."