"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Being a Man of God

Many times I tend to forget my chronological age (which is that of a middle-aged adult) and get caught up more into my attitudinal age (which is somewhere between sixteen and twenty one). Or, at least until I try roller blading, ropes courses, wrestling and other age-inappropriate behavior and end up in the emergency room with sprained and swollen ankles and wrists! And then at times, I will become more reflective, almost to the point of becoming maudlin, about my place in life and what I have done and what I want to accomplish in the years ahead.

What is involved in being a Man of God? Is it as easy as my great grandfather used to tell me? "I don't drink and I don't chew and I don't go with girls who do!". Does it mean to walk around with my big black Scofield Bible quoting scriptures verses about God's law to anyone who will listen? Or, is it a little more involved?

Being a single guy, I sometimes feel that I have more to prove to those around me about my spiritual walk as a Man of God. After all, I have no wife to be my helper and partner in ministry and no children to be my crowning accomplishment and to train up in the ways of God. Not that I haven't prayed for a wife and family, but God just hasn't determined the time to be right and I'm quite okay with the single life. In actuality, though, how does that prevent me from being a Man of God? The scripture tells us that the man should be the head of the house, to love his wife as Christ loves the Church and to train up his children in the ways of the Lord. Somehow I have not been able to convince Murphy (my terrier) to wear his little coat and tie and come to church with me, so that part may be moot. He is also not particularly submissive to me, so I guess I strike out on that count, also. Does that mean I am not a Man of God?

I look around me at men in my church that I would consider Men of God, many of them younger than I am. Strong men of the faith, never ashamed to share their testimony, always greeting one another with a smile and a firm handshake or a hug, working with children in Bible Study, mission projects and other areas of ministry. I see Men not afraid to weep during times of prayer and praise and always stand ready if the Pastor asks for someone to come counsel with someone at the altar. These men are the first to step forward if a need is present and none of them care about recognition for their service.

Being born and raised in the South, there are two words that every southern man is raised to consider most important in their way of life - Honor and Integrity. Without these qualities then you are not considered a true gentleman. As a Man of God, we are also given instructions on how to live. As Micah tells us, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? "(Micah 6:8). I don't know about you, but I also see undercurrents of honor and integrity included in those words. The men in my church whom I look up to and consider mentors have these qualities. However, most importantly, when they make a mistake and fall short of man and God's expectations, they are the first to admit their shortcoming and ask forgiveness at both the altar of their fellowman and the altar of God. Humility, humbleness, honor.

My involvement with the teenagers at my church gives me satisfaction like none other. The fun, the laughs and the pranks will be unforgettable (even though our Student Pastor puts me on double-secret probation at least once a year for my involvement with the pranks). However, also in the satisfaction are the times of having one of the students come to me with questions about their faith, questions about their family relationships, questions about their sexual purity as a Christian young man, questions about their careers, questions about whom to date and other important issues to them. I don't have the answers, but I look with them into the scriptures and share things that God has taught me and led me to understand in hopes that it will help them in their paths. And then when I get that quick punch on the shoulder (which is teenspeak for a hug sometimes), and I see a tear in their eyes and a relaxed smile on their face, I know that God is with them and my love for them grows. I learned when I was a Minister of Youth to "always take puppy love seriously because it is so serious to the puppies." Some of the things they come to me and other adults to discuss may seem somewhat unimportant, but it is important to them and they should be treated with respect and honor. (Of course, I also learned to not let sixty teenagers loose in Times Square and then take off running down 42nd street waving a clear plastic bag with over $800 in cash inside trying to make it to the Circle Line tour boat on time, but that's another story for another time.)

So, back to the original question. How can we be Men of God? Just do it. Love others, treat them with honor and respect, be an example to your family and to those around you, be a leader in your home, church, job and community, ask God each and every day to use you as His vessel here on earth so that others can see Jesus in you and don't be afraid to share the Love of God when the situations arise.

I am a Man of God, even though I might be a bit quirky at times. Let me encourage you other guys to find your place in God's work as Men of God, standing firm and strong for future generations.

Be God's,


At 10:51 PM, Blogger Janice said...

Ah, Jimmy, you do have your fun being a single man with everyone eles's children in your care for moments of frivolity - or is that mayhem? Anyway, my excitement in life seems to be cleaning up after Mr. Peeandpoop and the rest of the Funny Farm Writing Club. But it doesn't matter whether we're running down the street with $800 in a plastic bag or housebreaking a puppy, as long as we're doing our best to honor God. So keep smiling and writing, but it sounds like you should stop roller-blading and get a rocking chair. Jan

At 3:05 PM, Blogger elysha said...

Hey Jimmy, I found your blog and I'd just like to say what an encouragment it is for me as a Christian teenage girl to find guys like you who are living for the Lord. It's really cool! I look around and I see these guys who are around my age who just don't give a crap about Jesus. And I see the guys in your age range and I see HOPE!! When I find a mature Christian teen guy, it's like... a treasure or something. Because they are one in a few.

God bless and keep!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Thanks for your visit,lysha. I can promise you that God has plenty of teenage committed Christian young men out there and He will bring it together for you. If not, I will certainly send you some of mine at church if they keep waking me up at 1:00am to go buy them mexican food.

Be God's,

At 11:23 PM, Blogger JulieB said...

Jimmy, yes, we all learn best by example. The chance to see men of G-d as men of honor and integrity is truly a gift to those looking for examples of how to be adults.
I am not a teenager either, matter of fact I bought myself a young horse for my 50th birthday a couple years ago. I don't think age means not doing those things. I think we are much braver because we know the harm and yet go forward anyway. If we stop learning and playing, that is when we are truly old.
I am entertained that you look to a terrier for submission. Hmmm. What could you have been thinking?

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Jimmy said...

I know, I know... somehow terrier and submissive don't even belong in the same sentence. And it has only taken me 14 years to learn that! I turn 52 this year and hopefully will never be too old to play!

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I can relate to the post about chronological age and attitudinal age. My chronological age is 38. My attitudinal age would be 25. Most of my friends are 21-27. I hang out with them because most people my age are married I am single so I relate to them better.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Hi Michael, thanks for dropping by and for understanding how fun it is to hang out with the younger group. I do so for some of the same reasons as you, plus it just keeps us young at heart. Come back by again.


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