The most noble of titles, one of the highest ranks of achievement for any man in the community…..”he’s a real man’s man.”
I will not take the time to speak to the generation that is at present in a crusade to dismantle the sexes as though they were a child’s play thing to be torn apart and placed back together in any mix and match style that you choose. Perhaps one day that group will have to struggle with the concept of a real human’s human; for the here and now though I will speak to those of use who still understand an objective male and female.
The MM title naturally will vary across different cultures and landscapes. Hunters, bankers, soldiers, actors, kings, villagers, captains of the sea, miners of the ground; all different, all the same. There is an overarching theme that comes up. Identity of the man based on what he is able to do. One can fetch food, one can fetch power, one can kill, one can play dead, one can rule lands, one is ruled. His identity is derived from his position or performance.
The problem isn’t for the man who does well or is in a high position. The problem is for the man who does not perform well, or who does not have such a high position. More so even for the man who never learned some of the time-honored traditions of “manliness”.
You contemplate such things as your wife drives off to have the oil changed on your vehicle you can’t find the oil filter on. You also contemplate such things as setting your lawn mower on fire after the minor task of changing blades has taking the fight out of you. (On a side note, after borrowing the tools I needed the stupid blades finally came off and were changed.) I find more often than not simple “man of the house” tasks and anything mechanical are the bane of my existence.
Now I have to look into the magic bag of self-worth and find something to quickly paint over top of these recent gaffes of ego. Let’s see….money? No, that won’t do I’m neither particularly poor nor particular rich. Maybe strength? No, I’m neither particularly strong nor particularly weak. My career? My tasks at work while needed, tend much more towards the mundane and unimportant. I am for all intents and purposes average. This presents a bit of an identity conundrum for a man. Perhaps the men who sat atop a throne and have lost their knack have it worse. The men who were great athletes, and fell prey to injury. Men who were great leaders and fell prey to scandals, betrayal, or assassination. Men who were incredibly strong and suffered a debilitating disease. Men of great wisdom know for the wonders of their minds suffering a stroke. They may have it worse, but at least they have their stories of bygone times of greatness.
So the crux of the problem is this; a man needs greatness. He needs something large and purposeful, full of meaning. He needs a destiny. The problem is that we cannot find that within ourselves. Many of us try to do so, and through perhaps God’s grace or for his own amusement have some success. Ultimately though a man will reach a limitation. Perhaps it will be physical, maybe mental, or maybe even the mere passage of time will overtake him. I won’t leave you in such a dismal state though, for there is hope, and I know Him.
You see, my identity is in Jesus Christ. This cannot be shaken, this cannot be taken. There is no physical limitation, no mental set back, not even the passage of time that can change who I am in him. I am an ordinary man as much as I perceive myself; I am an extraordinary man as I am perceived by Him. He has made me unique, a masterpiece in His hands. Of all the things I could set my heart to do in this world, there is but one that will satisfy. What is that one thing? What is that meaning in life? To know Jesus Christ. All other stations and pursuits in life a void of meaning if not pursued in light of who you are in Him.
A small comparison of correct pursuit of the “manly” task of painting a picture in light of who you are in Christ and painting a picture in light of who you are in the world, the man’s man painter if you will. The latter paints and revels in what he has created only to lose his identity when an accident removes his ability to paint. The former revels in the fact that he has been given an imagination and that even though his brush may be taken he is still a work of art; his Lord the master painter, and he the paint.
As it seems I generally do, I have once again strayed a bit from the original idea of this post; however I hope that perhaps just one line in it somewhere will encourage anyone who has ever thought they weren’t good enough to turn to their father who deemed them good enough to create, love, and die for.