FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 16, number 49, December 7, 2017
“. . . and you shall enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives.” -Genesis 6:18
Masculine Monuments of Mercy
We have a serious problem with masculinity in our culture. We have at least seven million NEETS (Neither Employed nor in Education or Training) in the United States. These are men between the ages of 25 to 54 who are unemployed and not even looking for work. Thirty-five percent of men ages 18-34 live with their parents, compared to only twenty-eight percent who live with a spouse. Men are receiving only about forty percent of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Only twenty-six percent of adult men are of normal weight with the rest overweight or obese, presumably because of the time spent in front of their computer screens watching porn or playing computer games, something they have time to do since they are not working. Only twenty-five percent of men in the U.S. meet government standards for aerobic exercise and strength training. Grip strength among young men, one of the key indicators of overall strength and health, has declined in thirty years from 117 pounds to 96 pounds. Young men now have the hand strength of a thirty year old woman. Testosterone levels in men are way down too, as much as twenty-two percent in recent years.
In dividing our population between the prosperous, well to do, intact families on the one hand; and on the other, the poorer, single mom families, the problems are very similar though they manifest themselves somewhat differently. For the prosperous intact family with a father and mother at home, the parents tend to coddle their children. The parents tend to see themselves as their child’s best friend, showering their children with too many things too soon in life. Parents are way too involved in their children’s lives-calling or texting them daily at middle or high school and college. They tend to fight their children’s battles too. If their child is being bullied, then they demand school administrators do something about it, and if they do not, then the parents put them in another, presumably safer school. I always told my boys (and parents of boys in our churches) that if they were being bullied, they should try two things in this order. First, tell the bully that if he does not his antics, then he will use force against him. And second, if he continues then use that force. These well to do families also seem generally to have a casual view toward disobedience (kind of like Lavar Ball who did not think his son’s shoplifting from the Louis Vuitton store in China was a big deal). Therefore the children are soft emotionally, physically, and spiritually. They lack a work ethic. My basketball coach son sees it all the time. Very few kids want to grind. And consequently many of our young men cannot handle adversity. They quit or retreat in the face of hardship. Losing does not seem to bother them too much.
On the other hand, in the poorer, single mom homes Momma also coddles her sons. Perhaps she is trying to compensate for the lack of a father in the home to teach her son about manhood. So, even though she really cannot afford to buy her son the latest, coolest basketball shoes, she does so anyway. Sometimes she is working two or three jobs to keep her head above water and is unable to make sure her son is doing his home work and not hanging out with the wrong crowd. And of course her son has no idea what it looks like for the man of the house to get up every morning, go to work, come home, and provide for the family.
Do we have any Biblical models of manhood? Yes, of course we do and I direct your attention briefly to one of them-Noah. In Genesis 6 we have the story of God’s covenant with Noah in the midst of untold corruption. In verses 1-7 God grieves that He has made man because He sees man’s wickedness and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. In verses 8-10 we find, however, the manifestation of God’s grace, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” And what shall Yahweh do about this corruption? He makes a pronouncement and prescription in verses 11-17. He pronounces that He would destroy them from the face of the earth. But even in His just wrath He remembers mercy, for Yahweh prescribes a remedy. Noah was to make for himself an ark of gopherwood. And then in verses 18-22 we find Yahweh’s covenant mercy. He had raised up Noah to preserve the human race. He, his wife, their sons, and their son’s wives were to enter the ark and be saved from the just condemnation coming upon the whole world. But Yahweh’s mercy goes further, even to the animals. He was to bring two of every kind of animal, male and female, into the ark. Matthew Henry, the great Biblical commentator, calls Noah a “monument of mercy,” We look back and see how God raised him up to preserve His creation.
My friends-the only remedy for the loss of Biblical manhood is for fathers to take seriously their high calling as masculine monuments of mercy.
What are you to do? Briefly stated, you are to preserve and protect your family and community. Work hard. Make all you can. Save all you can. And give away all you can. Never abandon your family. Divorce is no option. I promise you, from pastoral experience, divorce never turns out well. It is a disaster for your children, your finances, and your general well being. Persevere in adversity. Never, never, never give up. Noah labored one hundred years in the midst of ridicule. Preserve and protect the world by making it a better place by the time you leave it at your death. And practice conservation. Not all conservationists must be “tree hugging leftists.”
Consider how you are doing. You are a masculine monument of mercy if you:
-stay married, stay employed, stay faithful, stay out of debt
-save at least ten percent, give away at least ten percent of your income
-serve in your church, have a ministry
-protect your wife and children from violence, perversion, peer pressure, and intrusion of wicked influences into your home through media or bad friends
-are a watchman on the tower of your home, keeping out heresy and false doctrine
-discipline your children with the rod (Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die, Proverbs 23:13).
Men, ask God to make you a monument of mercy for your family and community.
1. The Masculinist, “The Trouble With Men,” Aaron Renn, September 11, 2016