A few weeks ago I made the comment on social media that real men do dishes and laundry. The responses were varied to say the least. In the end, I am not sure how helpful the discussion was and I am sure my original meaning was lost among the disagreement. I’d like to qualify that sentence and expand on it since at the time I originally wrote that statement, people understood it to mean that “dishes and laundry” were the only things men were to do. This was neither my point nor close to the reason for sharing it. I simply wish to state this now and argue for the following view in this article, “Real men are servant leaders and help out around the home in a variety of ways.”
In a previous article on courage here I explained what it means to have godly courage. A man of godly courage is a servant-leader. This is a truth I’ve been learning in my seven years of marriage to my wonderful and sweet wife, Sarah. When we first got married, I struggled to be the leader of our home. It took me several years to finally figure out that if I wanted to get along well with my wife I needed to repent a lot and apologize often. I’m a work-in-progress and if you were to ask my close friends or my mother they would tell you that I can be very stubborn (ad nauseam) when the mood strikes. I share that very personal example because I’m guessing, as a man, you are a lot like me. You dig in your heels and tell yourself that nobody is going to tell you what to do! And yet (admit it you knew that was coming!), the Bible commands us, as men of God, to love our wives (Ephesians 5:28).
At the heart of servant-leadership is the ministry of Jesus. This is the same Jesus that the Gospels record as having served the disciples by washing their feet. Rabbis (or Jewish teachers) in Jesus’ day were very selective. To be a student of a famous rabbi was considered a great honor. Jesus, however, selected those whom society considered down and out. Jesus’ choice of His disciples reflected His priorities—to use those whom the world calls nobodies and makes them “somebodies”. Put another way, Jesus took ordinary people and made them extraordinary men, who would change the world. The story of church history is the same—God using His ordinary disciples to make an extraordinary difference in a wide sphere of society—including hospitals, prisons, courts of law, government offices, etc.
What will it mean for you to be a shepherd-leader? It will mean admitting you need Jesus. It will mean facing your failure to lead and accepting it. In other words it will take hard work, and the fuel for that work comes from the gospel. You see, the gospel (the Bible says) is the power of God (Romans 1:16), which means that it alone provides the fuel by which we can go forward and be His agents of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20) in the world. As men we need to first grab hold of the gospel. Not just any “gospel”, but the gospel of Jesus, and apply it to our lives. Only then will we be able to love our wives, our kids, the people in our neighborhood, and the people in our local church. Men, rise up; you are called to lead. You have been gifted to lead your family. God calls you to lead because He created you to lead. So rise up, men. Throw off apathy, pride, and whatever else entangles you. You are free in Christ to soar and ride the wave of His grace. Rise up, men of God, and be shepherd-leaders like King David who was tending to the sheep before he was made King of Israel. Rise up, love your wives, lead your children, and make disciples, all because of the gospel and for His glory. Will you heed His summons and come forward, or will you continue to falter? I beseech you, my fellow men, to rise up, heed the challenge, and be a man who loves his wife and children by being by the grace of God, the man God has called you to be. Then you will bring God much glory and do one of the most countercultural things you could ever do—simply love your God and your family. That brave action takes godly courage—the courage that comes from opening your Bible, reading it, and discovering (as I did) that God calls us to be this kind of man. He calls us to be the kind of man who leads as a shepherd servant-leader by His grace and for His glory over his family. All of you, men, must be that man, all for Him, and all for His glory.