• Achieving Eagle Scout?
• Being a stand-out, first-string athlete?
• Being tough and never showing weakness?
• Sexual conquests?
• Able to hold your liquor?
• Impressive facial hair?
• Being able to wire, plumb, mud dry-wall and rebuild an engine?
Over the last few weeks we have had some challenges. I’ve had some shocking electrical challenges. I have been up to my knees in plumbing challenges. Lois challenged my manhood and asked me to install new automatic dishwasher. She called and said should I pay to have it installed. I said; “Absolutely” Pay someone. That’s an easy answer. She got a second opinion.
You have no idea what a challenge these things are to me. She called Kyle and he said; “O, that’s cake. Anybody can do it.” I called my dear first-born son and I said; “Hey, I love you man, but please don’t ever tell your mother again that anybody can install a dishwasher. Not everybody should do things like that. Somebody could get hurt.”
I’ve seen some of your Facebook posts where you have put up the before and after pictures of your miraculous renovations. I just click from picture to picture in literal awe. My life is just not like that at all.
This week while one of the girls was taking a marathon shower one of the boys said; “Hey, there’s water running into the basement.” I went down and removed the panels of the dropped ceiling and sure enough water running steadily out.
My Tools Are On Shelves
Now if you come back to my study after church I will show you what I have been doing with my life since I was fourteen. I’ve been reading and thinking and writing, and speaking and organizing and counseling and motivating and exhorting and inspiring people to know and follow God. I have literally thousands of books stacked clear to the eleven-foot ceilings on these subjects. You can look all day and you won’t find a single book on plumbing, not a single manual on electrical, not a single book or pamphlet. If you come to my garage I don’t have one of those neat peg-boards with little tools silhouettes for each wrench. I don’t have a big steel tool chest with drawers. That’s just not what I have done with my life.
I don’t spend my day off at Lowes just salivating over appliances and power tools and plotting projects. I admire people who do, but when I go to Lowes it is to get in and out as fast as I can, get the bleeding stopped and get back to where I am comfortable and competent.
When the lights don’t work it shocks me. When the the plumbing leaks I’m in deep water. I don’t have a lot of experience. I don’t have the best tools. I don’t have the knowledge. I break things. I have to do things over and over again. I miss the most obvious things.
Humor and Hyperbole Aside; What Makes a Man a Man?
Humor and hyperbole aside. I’ve had to fix a few things over the last few weeks. Yesterday I conquered the plumbing and pillowed my head with the great satisfaction of a job well-done. There is something satisfying about getting the leaks stopped, isn’t there?
When you work with your hands it really stimulates your mind. You can really think. I got to thinking about what it means to be a man. What qualities make a man a man and I think Jesus was the consummate man and he made it clear what it means to be a man—what it means to be highly human.
Jesus taught his disciples that he could not fulfill his calling without suffering and sacrifice. Our natural inclination is to avoid as much suffering and sacrifice as possible. His teaching was wonderfully counter-intuitive. He said the way to live is to die. The way to fulfillment is sacrifice. He taught his disciples that to follow his father he would have to suffer and die and then he shocked them by teaching them that to follow Him they would also have to suffer and sacrifice and be willing to lay down their lives.
I can see that. The longer I know the Lord the closer I get, the more I understand the message of Scripture the more I see that nothing shows true humanity, true manliness like sacrifice.
If you want to have a life, join Jesus on his mission of suffering and sacrifice and you will wake up one day and be surprised at the fullness and the richness of your life. You will have a life and he will reward you endlessly throughout eternity. Whether or not you can rebuild an engine, patch a tire, build a house, mud drywall, hit the ball over the left-field fence, plumb or wire or leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Be a man. Be like Jesus. Humble yourself he will show you how. He will empower you to do what you cannot do.