Excerpt from Wes Yoder's Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather and Sports (eBook). // There's a story behind this excerpt's appearance today. Recently on our Facebook post about the Mom's Devotional Bible Contest, a gentlemen asked, "What do you have for dads?" ... I realized I had no giveaway for dads! But then I remembered Yoder's book, which to me was as nourishing as home-smoked venison. Hope you enjoy. -AF
Build a Fire
In the end, if you are a man at all, you will be an honest man. Or you will be dishonest, something less than a complete man, with a dead or dying heart. Not even you can fully convince yourself you are a real man as long as your heart is dead.
But the choices are yours. You will be false, or you will be true. You will be hard, brittle, and acerbic, or you will be strong, gentle, and true. You will be authentic and present in the circumstances and relationships of your life, or you will be a counterfeit, irrelevant, and emotionally absent man when it really matters. You will display courage in the face of danger, or you will fold in fear. You will demonstrate dignity and honor, or not...
Build a fire with your brothers; identify your masks — your false self — and then throw them into the roaring flames.
As you continually mature, you will find you are strong and courageous in one setting and a fearful shell of a guy in another. Don't be afraid to think and to ask yourself what part of your manhood is completely formed and what part must yet grow into the person you really are, into the person God says you are... Build a fire with your brothers; identify your masks — your false self — and then throw them into the roaring flames. You'll walk away together with a renewed fire in your hearts for the adventure ahead.
Image: Men of the US Army Company A, 16th Infantry; in San Jeronimo, Chihuahua, Mexico, 1916.
What is Manhood About?
Manhood, then, is first of all about being authentic, for God who created masculinity calls men to be honest and alive in the presence of others, including your wife or girlfriend (one at a time, please, and in the right order). It means being alert and honest, available "in spirit and in truth" to your father and mother, your children, your employer, your brothers, as well as to the guy whose interior emptiness drains the life out of the room at work, at church, or at the club.
Manhood is also about initiating a confessional life, acknowledging "when I am weak, then I am strong" ... Just as you, in a broken world, cannot know the greatest joy there is to know without knowing something about the greatest sorrow in the world, so you cannot know and experience your true strength until your weakness is no longer a precious secret within you. You may as well admit your weaknesses and failures, first to yourself, then to God, and then to those who love you most. They already know. God certainly does.
Don't become or continue to be the invisible man, the dad your family wishes they knew... If you are that man already, today is a new day in which the mercy of God is available for the asking. The specific name of this mercy is friendship...
Try asking your friends a few questions about what being a man is all about, and watch where the conversation goes.
- Wes Yoder
Question: What's one essential ingredient of manhood?
Learn more about Bond of Brothers (eBook)
-Adam Forrest, Zondervan
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of Bond of Bros. Image attribution: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)