By Ryan Duncan
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:12
My senior year of college, I applied to be part of a short term mission trip to Russia where my classmates and I interacted with children at the local orphanage. During my time there, I saw and experienced Christ in ways I never expected, and though I hated to leave, I couldn’t wait to get back home to tell everyone about it. That trip literally changed my life, so I was furious when I discovered that out of next year’s two-hundred applicants, only twenty of them were guys.
One of my growing concerns for the Church today is the decline of leadership among male Christians. Trust me, I’m no exception. I’d much rather hang out with a group of guys then try to manage some complicated project or get involved in something that will cost me time and effort. Still, it’s gotten to the point where God is trying to put us in the game but many of us are choosing to stay benched. It’s a familiar story, one the Bible tells in the book of Judges.
“Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' " Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go." "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh,” – Judges 4:4-10
I can sympathize with Barak. Sisera had been cruelly oppressing the Israelites for twenty years, and he commanded 900 iron chariots which where the equivalent to army tanks in the ancient world. Barak had good reason to feel uneasy about this battle. At the same time though, Barak was commanded by God, through a judge no less, to rescue his people and his overall response is, “Meh, I don’t know.”
God needs men of faith to stand up and act. You don’t have to fight 900 iron chariots, but maybe it’s time we started looking around for things we could do. Consider starting a small group for younger guys, participate in a mission trip or attend your Church’s prayer brunch! You don’t have to do everything, just do something. God has given us opportunities to impact the world for good; let’s not miss out just so we can sleep in and watch reruns.
Intersecting Faith and Life
Guys, look around and find ways to actively live out your faith. Ladies, encourage reluctant guys to get involved at Church.