The Battle Most of Us are Hesitant to Fight
(Jesus said) "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ "’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:28-31)
There’s a great illustration told by Pastor Doug Wilson of a teacher walking in the school hallway, who overhears two boys in an altercation by their lockers. The first boy pushes the other into his locker, yelling, “You dummy!”, while the other boy says nothing. The teacher suspends the first boy, of course, knowing little of the greater context. The reality of the situation is that the two boys are both Christians and friends. They had a “pact” to hold each other accountable in their faith when the first boy learned that his friend had gone ahead and asked out a non-Christian girl the previous night! Needless to say, it is difficult for an outsider to understand the ways of Christian masculinity, and ever more in this society!
King David was known as a “fighter” (2 Samuel 17:10) who also played a harp, sang, and even ruffled his wife’s feather when he danced before the Lord in public (2 Samuel 6:14-20). His response to Goliath’s boasts may be somewhat akin to the boy at the “Future Men” camp who got kicked out for shooting his bow and arrow too soon while the other boys were politely asking “when”! In an increasingly feminized world, we need strong men stepping up in leadership in the schools, churches, and government. In the meantime, I am seeking to instruct my incredibly strong 7-year old to use his strength for “protection” of what is valuable, rather than “destruction”! It is my hope and prayer that he will become more like the first son in Jesus’ parable above.
Moses, Gideon, Barack, and Jeremiah were “somewhat less than willing” servants of God. Moses even had the gall to say back to God, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Exodus 4:13) But the point is, that regardless of their hesitancy, they still moved forward, against their fears, in obedience to God, and were used mightily by Him to impact their generations. How would they step out in leadership today, if some of their masculine leadership was not “institution-friendly”? Could it be that their camps, youth groups, and teachers overlook their leadership potential? Would we squeeze them out of the church for causing too much “ruckus”? Some leaders-to-be may have to lean up against much of what is being taught, even seek to find the right direction for their “fighter instinct”! Hopefully they would find good flesh and blood mentors to guide them on that path to leadership, and if they’re not available, read some good biographies of leadership in bye-gone days. This next generation will need leaders who indeed color outside of the lines, and run toward the gunfire. Moses did that in the end!
My older daughter recently pressed me on a particular moral issue, and I was glad that she did! She asked, “What if you or mom ever asked me to do something that goes against what God tells me to do? What should I do?” I reassured her that she should follow God first in that case; provided that it was done in a respectful manner towards all, and told her that it was still possible to obey God AND honor her parents at the same time, even if the directions contradict! It is important to obey the highest authority in every case!
In the MN Constitution, it says in Article 1, section 1, “Government is instituted for the security, benefit and protection of the people, in whom all political power is inherent, together with the right to alter, modify or reform government whenever required by the public good.” Fighting for that, is consistent with Romans 13, especially in the cases when government or society overreaches and seeks to usurp it. Athaliah may tear her robes and cry out “treason!” (2 Kings 11:14), when godly leaders speak up against her and her descendants, but we do it because we believe both the Bible and the Preamble: “We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution”.
It is not against the government that we protest; it is against the corruption of government that we protest! We insist in limited government because we are not idolaters! In THIS day and age, we need more “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what to do”. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
How about you? Which son in the parable better describes you? If you are among the “Men of Issachar”, what should you do? Though I have been one who has said to God, “I will not”, I pray that I, and we, in these challenging times, will be like the first son and be willing to go and obey the Father, like the original Protestants!