Men's Weekly Devotional

July 26, 2021

Family big Enough?

In the family context, building community means building expanded families around our existing, immediate families. These family “expanders” are trusted friends—followers of our King, Jesus Christ—who know us, know our kids (if we have them), know our wives (or girlfriends or fiancées), and know about our parents and siblings. They know the stories of our families and the stories of the individuals within our families. They connect long-term, across generations. They know the good and bad—and still choose to share our lives: meals, recreation, celebrations, holidays, traditions.

Why do we need them? Well, life together is hard—hard for adults, hard for kids. We all need all the help we can get. And, if we’re not proactive and intentional in securing help, it either won’t come or it’ll come, but from places less-than-ideal. Parents can get isolated—or be too much influenced by prevailing culture. Kids can get too little direction—or be too much influenced by peers or unprincipled adults. No, it’s critical that we be proactive and intentional. The Apostle Paul wrote: “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

If we are proactive and intentional, though, we can influence just who’s going to influence our families—ensure the right people are supporting, encouraging, and challenging us as fathers, husbands, sons, brothers; and the right people are speaking truth into our kids.

Okay, so what do we do?

Expanded families aren’t built without work. They take investment and reciprocity. No one will share our lives if we don’t share in theirs, too. Pray today, brother, about who should be in your expanded family. Reach out to them. Be explicit. If they buy-in, co-develop a practical plan to connect more closely.
July 19, 2021

Alone at Work?

Work is a place where we men are apt to live, not as our true selves, but rather as carefully crafted and false versions of ourselves. Work is a “compartment” where we try to be, not who God created us to be, but images we create all by ourselves. Why? What makes work different? Well, at work, the prevailing culture is too often (and too much) self-focused: outperform, get promoted, achieve, get ahead. It is too often permeated by greed, pride, and narcissism.

When we live according to the prevailing culture of work, we hide our true selves, for exposing ourselves would upset our plans to build our images (and our careers). So, we protect our images by cutting ourselves off. We don’t let anyone in on our fears, struggles, pain, excitement, victories, joy. This is foolish, given that many of us spend more of our waking hours at work, with work colleagues, than we do away from work, with loved ones and close friends.
Living according to the prevailing culture of work can transform our workplaces into dismal, desolate places of adversaries and mere acquaintances. Workplace relationships become characterized by superficiality and materiality. Spending years under such conditions leads to cynicism and apathy, burnout and bad choices. Purpose and meaning fade. We protect our images, but we lose ourselves.

Okay, so what do we do?

Betray the prevailing culture, brother (Philippians 2:3-4). But don’t do it alone. Track down at least a couple trusted friends at your workplace and begin to fight for one another, keep each other accountable, keep each other humble, be transparent with one another, confess and repent to one another, pray together, laugh and lament together. Set up regular lunches. Grab coffee together, weekly. Start a regular prayer group or a company Bible study.
July 12, 2021

Want to Get Stronger?

Want to get stronger? Want to be tougher? Get connected. When we face trials and challenges, those to whom we’re connected can support us—help us find courage we’d not find on our own. When we experience pain and loss, they can comfort us—help us back from places we’d not return from, on our own. When we’re hit by fear and anxiety, they can give us perspective—help us see things in ways we’d not see on our own. When we need truth, they can teach us—help us discover and understand what we we’d not grasp on our own. When we get stuck, they can call us out, speak truth, push us forward—help us stop (or start) what we’d be unable to, on our own. When we face complicated questions, they can listen and counsel us—help us process through problems that are too difficult on our own. When we mess up, make mistakes, they can correct us and have mercy—help remind us we’re loved, despite flaws and failures, something that’s hard to remember on our own.

The Apostle Paul urged connectedness (Romans 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13). The early Church demonstrated it—spending time together, knowing one another, eating, learning, and praying together. Why? Alone, we men are vulnerable; together, we’re stronger and more resilient toward the ups-and-downs of life (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Connectedness ruggedizes us, restores us, fuels us for what’s ahead. And, brother, there’s important stuff ahead.

Okay, so what do we do?

Go look at your weekly calendar. What are the major groupings, in terms of commitments and people? Work/Colleagues? Home/Family? Social/Friends? Others? Okay, now you need at least a couple people from each category who (1) know you, (2) understand the context too, and (3) who’ll make connectedness with you a priority.