Choose you this day whom you will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
It is not easy to describe a man.
Not only is it true that most of us have differing concepts as to what a man really is, but it is equally true that a man is judged - or should be judged - according to the varying stages in his life.
Looking back over his life, one man told a psychological interviewer as reported in Psychology Today, "At ages 20-30, I think I learned how to get along with my wife. From 30-40, I learned how to be a success in my job. And from 40-50, I worried less about myself and more about the children."
Fathers want to be men so that their sons may also have a proper concept of manhood.
Mothers encourage their daughters to wait for the right man.
Much of the world has a special day - a Father's Day - set aside in commemoration of real manhood.
Let's think about these four principles of the characteristics of real men.
I. MANHOOD IS NOT DETERMINED SOLELY BY PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
American folklore is full of stories of men who seemed larger than life. John Henry and Casey Jones - heroes of the railroad era. Paul Bunyan with his swinging ax. David Crockett and the Alamo, Daniel Boone and the Kentucky wilderness, and a host of western personalities - all big and strong and physically impressive.
But physical strength alone does not equal manhood.
In his classic novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck presents a character who has the body and the muscle tone of a man. In fact, he is an exceptionally strong man. But his mind is that of a child. He cannot think and he cannot grasp abstract and complex ideas. His physique alone does not qualify him for manhood.
II. MANHOOD IS NOT DETERMINED BY ONE'S STATUS IN LIFE.
A simple glance around and you know that all the rich, all the leaders, all the powerful and the important are not necessarily blessed with manhood. Some are thieves. Some are liars. Some are cheats. Some are cowards. Some are hypocrites. Some are adulterers.
Bernard Madoff, the former respected chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, bilked investors out of more than $50 billion and ushered in The Ponzi Economy. He lived like a king in series of billion dollar residences but today exists in the disgrace and bleakness of a prison cell, awaiting sentencing, at age 71.
Preachers and teachers whose reputation was formerly impeccable, today live in the aftermath of the sin and shame of moral bankruptcy.
III. MANHOOD IS NOT THE SAME AS PARENTHOOD.
Parenthood can come within moments: manhood is a long, tedious process of growth. Parenthood can be the result of a simple, instinctive, biological act - without thought, or planning, or experience, or counting the cost. But manhood demands thorough application of all the mental processes and all the moral fiber one possesses.
Being a parent calls for dedication and effort and God’s help.
IV. MANHOOD IS A STATE OF MATURITY WITH MARKED CHARACTERISTICS.
Manhood does not whine or whimper.
It does not make excuses for what it knows itself to be.
It does not rationalize.
It does not blame circumstances.
It does not blame other people or fate or bad luck or the roll of the dice.
It does not blame society, either (whatever that may mean).
Manhood does not quibble over the frivolous and the unimportant.
It does not dream away its days thinking of the uncharted future, nor does it become immobilized with shame for the unchangeable past.
Manhood puts away childish things. It develops attitudes of maturity toward itself, toward others, and toward the basic issues of life.
Manhood shoulders and carries without complaint the full sack of responsibilities associated with maturity. By its very nature, manhood requires the forgetting of self and the acceptance of others. Husbands are responsible for their wives. Fathers are responsible for their children.
Along with proper attitudes and a sense of responsibility, manhood is also characterized by action. A man must be able to act. Opportunities are like arrows upon the wind. They move swiftly. They appear only for a moment and then they are gone. They are not for philosophizing about, they are not for discussing, they are not always for evaluation and calculating.
Opportunities are for seizing. Opportunities are the challenge to manhood.
And only men – real men – are up to their speed and their promise.
The world needs men. The community needs men. The church needs men – real men.
Real manhood is a simple task carried through to completion;
the rendering of an honest day's work;
the keeping of a trust;
the returning of love unselfishly and without demanding payback.
The rewards of real manhood are myriad - the touch of a child's hand;
the soft brush of a wife's lips;
the relaxed atmosphere of his own den;
the unseen presence of the Living Christ - these are only a few of the rewards of manhood.
Living for Jesus Christ is not for sissies.
I love the sound of a real man’s voice echoing God’s servant, Joshua, who cries out with courage:
Choose you this day, whom you will serve;
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
We need – we must have – more real men,
to take a stand in the midst of a gainsaying world
and shout with Joshua,
as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
May God give us more real men.
It begins here and now with confession, followed by consecration, then commitment, continuity and consistency.
Carl, every one of your messages is a masterpiece. However, this message about Real Men takes it to another level. It is truly powerful. It is a message on Real Men by a Real Man. Thanks and God bless.
Dr. Robert and Kathy White
Brother Richardson, this is a great article. We need role models in men in the ministry today who are real men. Thanks for sharing these rich thoughts just before FATHER’S DAY which we do not have here in India.
Pastor Moses Choudary
Your feature blog articles are always so very well written, practical and helpful on many levels. Thank you for your commitment to excellence! Blessings!
Dr. Tom Rosson, President
I feel like such a failure as a father, a husband, and a man, and especially a man of God. This is more than just a surface problem. It is deep and it is very real. Often I say with the Apostle Paul, “Oh! Wretched man that I am!” I am constantly into self-loathing. But thank you for the encouragement I received from reading your article on “Real Men.” Please pray for me and ask your prayer partners to remember me in personal prayer.
San Diego, California
I had a good husband and a good marriage but I didn’t know it then. Now I realize that there are things more important than picking up your socks and being on time for dinner. My husband is gone, My marriage is destroyed all because I didn’t encourage my husband in the Lord but nagged him constantly about trivial things. I realize now what a real man he was in so many ways. But for me it may be too late. For other wives who may read my comments, there is still time to appreciate the good things you have and how blessed you are if you are married to a real man of God. Treasure what you have.
Just read your update concerning fathers. Good stuff! I am preparing a message for Father’s Day (I Corinthians 13: - - When I became a man.) If you don’t mind, I may use some of your thoughts in that message and will attribute them to you with my thanks.
Pastor Marc Campbell
Charleston, South Carolina