“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Where are the Christian Men?
As they grow up boys need godly men to show them the way; men who will take particular interest in them and their direction in life; men who will spend time with them, teaching them from God’s Word, exhorting and encouraging them.
If a boy cannot find such direction in his father, he will need another godly man to step up to the plate and disciple him. If not, he might just go looking for such support from the local gang leader or pedophile, who is more than willing to ‘help’ out.
I’ll never forget a young man who came for an interview with our ministry. I could see this boy needed help and direction in life. He was very excited about working full-time with us. I asked him to please discuss the opportunity, and procure the support of his local church pastor before he joined us.
We never heard from him again; but later read in a news article that he had been murdered while working at a gay men’s club in Sea Point, Cape Town.
This incident, like so many others, leaves us asking, Where are the men?
Well, they are not teaching young boys in Sunday School, nor are they at the violin recitals or the fathers’ prayer meeting at their son’s school.
You won’t find them in the local hospital sleeping in a chair next to their child’s bed. You also won’t find the fathers dropping off their sons at a drug rehabilitation center. Someone is doing these jobs, but it’s not the men. The mothers and grandmothers are doing all these so-called ‘unmanly’ chores.
Our boys, and their neighborhood friends, need godly men to make a difference in their lives. Yes, I know we are very busy making money to give our boys a ‘better life’. Or perhaps we’re more ‘spiritual’, trying to win other boys—far from our homes—to Christ, through our wonderful ministries that take up all our time.
I was sitting and chatting with a great friend, a dynamic pastor and missionary in his day, but now slowing down with age. With tears in his eyes, he told me how he had spent most of his life trying to ‘save’ everyone else’s children and almost ‘lost’ his own.
So, what does a godly man do? And how does he make a difference?
Many think that being ‘spiritual’ is somehow related to spending time in meditation or contemplation during which your inner life is developed.
One man used an expletive as he explained to me how we don’t need theology today but rather people need to be spiritual. Surely, Biblical spirituality is practical in nature, like controlling your tongue, providing for your family, and looking after widows and orphans.
The best way we can disciple, or mentor, boys is to point them in the direction of righteousness—to Jesus Christ. We can only attain this through His great work, His sacrifice for our sins on the cross, and His resurrection—amen!—and then enjoy the evidence of His amazing Grace through obedience to His Word in our daily lives.
To prepare the next generation of boys to be godly leaders in their homes and society, we now need to be selfless and practice servanthood. We need to get active and reject passivity. Get involved, rather than remaining uncommitted. We need to take initiative, rather than settling for the soft and destructive seductions of indifference.
We need to realize that we—as men chosen by Christ to study His Word and follow Him—have a responsibility to these boys. And the Righteous Judge will hold us accountable for how we perform this responsibility.
Boys need Christian men who will stand on the side and cheer at the soccer game, take them hiking in the mountains, camping, shooting or fishing with friends. We need to take time to share wisdom, skills and talents the Lord has blessed us with.
This is why even just the presence of my boys and I interacting with the children from the informal settlement at a sport ministry is a great Gospel investment. My friends run the ministry and we support their efforts. We get the blessing of contributing simply by being great and supportive followers.
But, there is more: What about the diapers that need changing? Homework to be done? Laundry? Shopping?
So what will your children remember about you? The father who worked so hard that his children never saw him? Or, the great times of discipleship in person?
Sorry, I have to stop writing now; I have a ballet class to attend. And it is not my sons’ class!
Charl van Wyk