Huntin', fishin', workin', sports, and other manly things are expected fare at a men's Bible study. The ocassional passing of gas and hearty laughter occur. At our study, great food is prepared and we sit around eating and catching up with each other. Lately, our time together has begun to change ever so slightly. For instance, we have gone from gliding across the surface of manly relationships to a deeper level of trust and care. A couple weeks ago, we sat entranced as one fellow shared his heart about long lost friendships and this past week, we were enthralled by one of our elder gentlemen who shared loving memories of his late wife.
It went from funny sometimes crass statements in the first few weeks to an atmosphere where men feel safe to talk about matters of the heart. I'm sure God is smiling. When superficial relationships are entertained, meaningful connections rarely occur. When a safe environment is offered, men will begin the slow journey toward dropping their defenses and open to the possibility of God's work of heart for each of them.
A man's heart is not made up entirely of, "Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails." God has created men to reflect a godly image and we fellows tend to shield God's image with our own inadequacies. We have our own images to protect and an air to put on so that other men will respect us. Fact of the matter is, respect came more from an 85 year old saint (John) sharing how he met his wife and how they danced and fell in love.
God is love and created humanity to love Him and other humans. When we don't invest in the task to love, we're left as hollow beings walking around disconnected from God and each other. As we continue to engage God and what is means to be a man, we're finding more places of our lives that need to be freed from worldly notions of a stoic, hardened, mean, cold, and disconnected man.
I have been living on John's words ever since Monday evening and how he pointed all the glory of his marriage toward God's doing. He and his bride were willing participants in the plan. When a group of men get real, build strong relationships with God and each other, and when trust grows, then the church and community where those men worship and work will be richly blessed by a godly presence.
This past Monday evening ended with one of the younger men praying and I'm sure the angels in heaven were doing a wave and singing loudly. I know it! Walk through your today with this truth.
"God loves you."