Concept: How is the role of Biblical Manhood, as it pertains to leadership, displayed in the secular workplace and community?
This post was written by Dr. Jeff Suderman, owner of Suderman Solutions, a management consulting company that focuses on organizational leadership and strategy. He lives in Palm Desert, California with his wife and three teens. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Be A Man For God’s Sake!
“Be a man!”
At some point in your life, it is likely that someone has told you this. You’ve probably even said it to someone else. But what does it really mean to “be a man”? Who do we get our advice from when we define manhood? Does God even care about our maleness or is it simply another meaningless label?
You have a choice about how you define manhood. As I work in the marketplace and sit in boardrooms I encounter themes that reveal different ways that we define it. Which of these sources defines your beliefs about who you are as a man?
The Idiot: “Doh!” While Homer’s antics may be amusing, they also depict man as someone who lives as a victim of his whims and desires. While no one readily admits that they do this, we all know people who do. And if we are really honest, we can recount times when we have personally acted this way! Scripture reminds us that “The foolishness of man ruins his way” (Proverbs 19:3 NASB).
The Power-Monger: It is tempting to define our manhood by the amount of power we wield. In Mark 10:37, two of Jesus’ disciples asked to sit at His right and left hands when they died and went to heaven (these were positions of great honor). They wanted to be important – even in the afterlife! Even those who are closest to God can fall prey to the allure of power.
The Fox: The fox is an opportunist who takes care of his own needs first. It may be by sneaking a self-serving clause into a lengthy contract. Or by hiding information in order to save face or provide yourself an unjust advantage. Foxes are good at finding little ways to advance their own agendas. However, scripture reminds us that it is “the little foxes that ruin the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15, KJV).
The Superhero: The vast amount of movies dedicated to superpowers gives us a glimpse into another way we define manhood – as a hero. Heroes are great – after all, they usually save the day! The problem with a hero is self-sufficiency. They depend upon their own strength. While we can accomplish many things this way, we must remember that “it is the Lord’s purposes that prevail” (Prov. 19:21, NIV) and not the things we can accomplish in our own strength!
The Servant: Sometimes I encounter men who strive for greatness by serving first. Jesus taught the two power-mongers mentioned above that, “The son of man [Jesus] came not to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). Jesus redefined his role as a man as one who existed to serve the needs of others. He did not come to entertain his own needs, to show power, to outsmart others or be a superhero. He showed us that he could “be a man” by serving others.
So what does it take to “be a man”? Our responses must be rooted in the things that scripture tells us. So remember:
- You are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27).
- You were created to be a man – on purpose! “Male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). “for it was not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).
- You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
- You are called to love and serve your wife and family as Christ loved you (Eph. 5:25). Remember, he died for you!
- Leadership begins by following (Mark 1:17). Scripture repeatedly shows us that effective leadership accomplishments began by first following God.
As men, how we define manhood also defines how we lead. I’ve worked for idiots and it is frustrating. Power-mongers suck the joy out of work. I have to watch my back whenever I am working with foxes. Superheroes do some great things but I usually find that there’s just not enough space left for me and my abilities when they are in the room. But I always enjoy it when I discover I am working with someone who seeks to serve me! In fact, it somehow makes me want to reciprocate by serving them well!
So how do you “be a man”? One of God’s great gifts to you is free-will. How you choose to “be a man” is up to you. God has provided you with guidance but the choice is yours. So I encourage you to “be a man”. But do it God’s way if you really want to flourish.