Wow! We are in a New Year and already at the start of the second month. Where does the time go? Seems that we just start one new year and then Wham!, another is upon us. This year is starting off with a bang. Many of us has dealt with the flu or some other sickness during January. The first two weeks of this year had me down as I ran a fever for eight straight days. That will zap the strength right out of you and it takes a while to get your stamina back. But I am back and ready to see what God is going to do in 2018.
Since I have been involved in ministering to men, I have had the opportunity to meet with men throughout Southeast North Carolina and across the state regularly. There are many men who are doing great work for our Lord and growing daily in a relationship with God. However, there are a large number of men who are struggling with life issues.
One of my struggles, according to my wife, is that she tells me that my filter is wearing out. That sometimes I speak before I think about what I am going to say. Well that may be true. But, you know, I like being surprised just like everyone else. I may make light of our struggles, but I am like every other man when I say that I too struggle with issues.
Over the next few posts I want to share with you how men in our churches can be impacting other men in their local body of believers. How they can be an encourager and help men who are struggling with life issues.
When we ask most churches, what are they doing with their men or what does their Men’s Ministries consist of, we find that it is centered around gathering events or mission opportunities. That is all well and good and I certainly encourage these activities; but, we need to understand that ministering to men is much more. Many times, Men’s Ministries uses Proverb 27:17 as their scripture verse;
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (ESV).
Though Proverbs 27:17 is true, that one man does sharpens another, there is a text in Ecclesiastes I believe helps us to understand how men need to go about sharpening each other. The text is found in Chapter 4 verses 9-10, 12.
9Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up…. 12And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. (CSB)
Read this text again. Verse 9 and the beginning of verse 10 is a word of encouragement; but then, at the end of verse 10 we see a warning, “but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” Then verse 12 provides us another word of encouragement.
Over the last decade I have come to appreciate this text in Ecclesiastes more for what ministering to men should be all about. The next several posts we will unpack this text and discuss the three actions I see for us to apply in our lives to help us minister to men we encounter.
I will give you a hint and tell you we will find it all deals with relationships. Rather men want to admit it or not – men respond to ‘manly’ relationships. As Tim, the Tool Man Taylor would say, “Auugghhh?” Men are somewhat isolationist when it comes to their feelings; they rarely share their feelings, even to their wives. And they certainly are not going to share with another man unless they know they can trust the individual completely.
Men, if they are left to their own devices, will run like water taking the path of lease resistance, even if it is wrong. That’s why men need strong relationships in their lives.
Next time we will look at the first action we need to apply.
Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men – Mike.