One of the most influential moments in my church life as a child was when my parents divorced. My dad moved into a small one-bedroom apartment. Men from the church came to help move some heavy furniture with their trucks. I
remember one church member putting his arms around me and saying something like, “friends help each other out when they need it.” He then affirmed me by saying, “I saw you move that couch. You are a good helper.” I stuck my eight-year-old chest out a little further than I ever had before.
Over the years, there were several times my dad asked me to come along and help do some heavy lifting for others who needed it. We moved couches and dressers for older couples who were downsizing or families who were moving into a bigger home. Once we helped another friend from the church going through a divorce. He was moving into a small apartment. I remember my dad and him sitting for a long time on the stairs looking down and talking long after everything had been unloaded. I just kept remembering how one man in the church told me this is what friends do. I associated that to mean this is what friends in the church do. They help each other.
These weren’t events that happened every week or month. They happened occasionally, but their impact was powerful. It showed me one side of being a man in the church. We do for others. We show up, do a little work, give a hug, shake a hand and sometimes we sit together quietly. Now to be sure many of these same men got loud and rowdy together when the former NFL Houston Oilers made the playoffs. They showed how to have a good time with chili competitions and more than once we had frog races with toads we had to catch. There were canoe trips, hikes on park trails, and monthly yard teams at the church. The times were foundational. One of the most important aspects was that men: grandfathers, fathers and uncles, brought along the next generation both boys and girls. They showed Christian virtues of work with kindness, joy, and generosity. I think we need this more and more today. Here is a quote which shares why.
“Our modern high-tech, fast-paced, consumerist world is becoming increasingly frenzied, fragmented, and disarrayed. In a time when we possess more financial wealth, material goods and comforts, and technological conveniences than ever before, many of us suffer from untethered wishy-washy relativism; information overload and dizzying speed and chaos in our lives; anxiety, stress, and feelings of fatalism and nihilism. We face defensive paralysis in the face of change and a disproportionate reliance on money and consumerism seem to be the answer….We are becoming lost and forlorn, drowning in an overpowering present. What is going wrong and what can we do about it?” (Excerpt From: Thomas Lombardo. “The Pursuit of Virtue: The Path to a Good Future.”)
For centuries the answer was virtue and character development formed in the way of Jesus. Largely these traits are no longer explicitly taught in homes and schools. This leaves young men and women on their own to figure out how and who to be in the world. That is why I think it is so
important for us to once again turn to the lessons of scripture. Virtues are taught as a way of being. I believe we have the opportunity to share these character qualities in action. The men of the church are needed to begin this work. Please say a prayer as the men of the church begin again. May we start to intentionally create ways to shape the future. I pray you will join us to do good in the name of Christ and shape the future of the world.
Rev. Trey Hegar