I had the blessing of leading a mens retreat this past weekend. It was attended by eighteen men from our church and was an extraordinary learning experience. I want to preface this article by saying that I understand there are those that will not agree whole heartedly with what I am about to write. And that is understandable as there are some who may not hold the same views as I do and please feel free to disagree but do so in a respectable manner.
When I planned this retreat I did so because along with the other planners we have seen a distinct decline in the quality of leadership in the church, the home, and the community. Without quality leadership all these areas of life suffer. And now we come to the controversial part for some. This position of leadership, according to Biblical principles falls on the men, and please understands that does not mean dictatorship in means leadership. The greatest leader I know that being the person of Jesus Christ whom led by being a servant not only to others but to G-d the Father. When we take that responsibility to heart as men it is a daunting task that we face. Manhood has a far greater definition than having a penis and testicles, than having the ability to thump your chest, storm the castle, or write your name in the snow. True Biblical manhood aligns oneself with G-d and is in all aspects of life accountable to Him.
The first principle is perhaps the most controversial, and there are those that will whole heartedly disagree and I understand this but it is important and one that I feel helps define the points to follow. Imagine a car that has controls on both sides in the front, two steering wheels, two gas pedals, two brakes and two sets of instruments. Now imagine a crisis arises a truck pulls out in front of the car, each of the front seat passengers, having total control makes what they feel is the correct response to the crisis. As much as they really want to work together, only chaos will reign in the situation. A marriage is much the same defined by today’s society, it is said that a marriage must be 50/50 with both parties having equal control in all situations. And much like the dual control car when a catastrophic problem arises and there can only be one right direction chaos is more often than not the result.
Now imagine the same situation except with only one set of controls. The passenger sees the impending accident and warms the driver who assumes control of the car and steers clear of the oncoming doom. They work together but the ultimate control of the situation the ability to completely avoid the accident is given to the driver. The driver takes full responsibility for the well being of the passenger or passengers of the car. So is the role of husband and wife in a marriage. G-d created men and women to complement one another to become one by completing one another. The wife is the helper, and we need to understand that the word “helper” here is referred to in the language context as help directly given to man by G-d. She is a blessing of G-d and child of G-d and is to be treated as such. However the ultimate responsibility of the marriage and the people within it falls on the man/husband, which brings us to the next point.
The very second principle of leadership can be summed up in three words “I Got It”. These are not intimidating words by any means unless you as a man expect to live by them. What does it mean when I say “I Got It”. It means I take full responsibility for everything and everyone under my care. It goes far beyond “The Buck Stops Here” it goes to the point that everything stops here. No matter the problem, when things get messy, confused and seem insurmountable beyond repair. When you do not have a clue on how to solve the problem and things look impossible. Your duty as a man is to look at those under your care and say “I Got It” , it is your duty to give them peace and confidence that the problem will be taken care of. How do you do this? If you are a man of G-d you do it because one He has given to you that responsibility and you do it because you have aligned yourself under G-d and you trust in the promise that He has got it. I got it because G-d has got me, He has got my back. When a man does this his wife, children, church, and co-workers can rest in the knowledge and confidence that it will be OK.
“Do not sweat the small stuff.” how many of us have heard this saying? As men we often live by this motto. The small stuff does not matter, when in fact all the stuff matters. One of the men in the group brought up the point that his wife often comes to him with what he considers small stuff. Ye t to her it is not small stuff because it matters to her. In the end they usually end up in some sort of argument because eh did not feel it was worth that much attention. As a man it would be dishonest to say that there are things my wife considers important that I think is small stuff. But when put into the right perspective everything matters to me if it matters to her. Scripture tells me that I am to love my wife as Christ loves the church. When I think of Christ love and how all encompassing it is then I have to consider that my small stuff matters to Him. I am to love my wife as I love my own body, and my small stuff matters to me. Both of these are statements of truth that bring home the fact that there is no small stuff, it all matters. I pointed out to this young man that if it matters to her even if you think it is small, it must matter to you. So when she brings these things to you listen and assure her that even with the small stuff ‘you got it.
The last thing that touched me at this retreat was that there were some men that commented how their past behavior was not shall we say ideal. And who can say that they have led perfect life I know I cannot. G-d told Joshua “My servant Moses is dead; Now therefore arise….”Moses was dead he was yesterday and Joshua had to deal with today , Joshua had to let go of the past. We need to do the same; we need to have a funeral of for our past. Imagine were in that car again and we are driving but we are only looking in our rearview mirror. All we are going to do is keep running into things. You cannot advance if you are tethered to the past. We can learn from our past, it is ok to look in the rearview mirror every now and then to check what is behind you. But the majority of our focus must be on the road ahead. We cannot let our past keep us from moving towards a better future. As a Christian we are born again, become a new creation in Christ, if G-d is willing to forgive us and then we have to forgive ourselves and forgive those that wrong us. We have to let go of the past, and move towards the future He has planned for us.
There was so much more at this retreat and I was blessed and honored to lead it. When I got home from the retreat I asked my wife some questions. Do you feel like your needs are met? How can I do a better job of taking care of you? What makes you feel the most safe and secure? These were not easy to ask and I was open to the answers. Some of the answers were tough as she was honest and open. But the answer to the last question s the one I will always treasure: Are you confident I will always love you and will always be there for you? The answers were a resounding “Yes because I know that “You Got It”. I am sure there are things that some people do not agree with in what I have written and that is understandable. But I do hope that in some small way we all can take away a positive from this.