In a world where books titles like “The Passive Man’s Guide to Seduction” have become common and acceptable, even the ranks of evangelical Christianity are slowly being torn away from the concept of male leadership.
Just recently I witnessed a relationship end, and the primary cause for it, I believe, was the lack of male leadership. Sadly, instances like these have become increasingly common across the globe, and we are slowly reaping the consequences.
John Piper sums up the issue quite well in his book, What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible (you may download a free copy of the book here):
If I were to put my finger on one devastating sin today, it would not be the so-called women’s movement, but the lack of spiritual leadership by men at home and in the church. Satan has achieved an amazing tactical victory by disseminating the notion that the summons for male leadership is born of pride and fallenness, when in fact pride is precisely what prevents spiritual leadership. The spiritual aimlessness and weakness and lethargy and loss of nerve among men is the major issue, not the upsurge of interest in women’s ministries.
The temptation to avoid or ditch leadership can be observed even as early as Genesis:
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. -Genesis 3:6-7, NIV 2010
Adam, instead of stopping or reprimanding Eve, gave way to the tempted Eve’s suggestion to eat of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thus leading to the “fall of man”.
One of those who shared his testimony during our recently held Church Camp (click here for related article) focused on the concept of fatherhood. He shared about the times when his children were young, and how he became almost like an absentee father – leaving while the kids were still asleep, and coming home when they were already asleep. His words sounded so familiar, as at one point in time, my dad was also like that.
Our world today has stereotyped the typical successful man as someone who finds glory in his work, and, consequently, his compensation. At the cost of broken families, broken relationships, an inkling for moral depravity and materialism, and of course, total absence, if not superficial presence in the church community. He takes his pride from leading employees at work, rather than pastoring a household flock and a community of believers. The rod and the staff has been traded-in for the suit.
I’m not saying that it is entirely impossible to balance one’s work and personal/spiritual life and leadership. It’s just that, all too often, men will rather choose the role of being a material needs provider than being a spiritual needs provider. Providing materially more than what many would consider as the bare minimum, yet spiritually a lot less than what is needed.
May we not be cast into the same mold.
May the men strive to lead in their friendships, relationships, families, and communities.
May the men be true gentlemen, following in the footsteps of Christ and his apostles and prophets.
May the men strive for mutual accountability as they seek God’s will and direction for their lives.