Living the Mandate
God has "hard-wired" men to create and cultivate. I believe at the core of a man's heart he must be creating and taking initiative for the benefit of others to feel a sense of significance, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. As we covered extensively in Session Two, God models creation and cultivation as early as Genesis 1 and 2, then mandates those two acts of courage to Adam as the core essence, responsibility, and purpose of his masculinity. That mandate is still ours as men today.
That is why there is something that innately inspires us as men when we see an entrepreneur create a new business from scratch and uses it to bless others; a new principal turn around a failing school; a father navigate his family through a tough season; or a coach create a winning culture for a team. When men step into responsibility, whether that's in their home, neighborhood, workplace, or city, and create a situation that betters others, those men and all who see and experience their leadership are both inspired and left with a deep sense of what is good, noble, and right.
It is sad and should be terrifying how easy it is for us as men to slip on the clothes of passivity, mediocrity, and insignificance. Authentic men reject all that.
I wish you could all get to know and watch my friend David Montague create and cultivate. David stepped out of a successful career as a bond salesman to get on the solution side of a national pandemic, urban education in America. Over the last few years, David has pioneered and nurtured the Memphis Teacher Residency program that has recruited and clustered young, talented educators, given them elite training, and placed them into the most vulnerable schools in Memphis. He has been a man on a mission and the fruit of this efforts are incredible.
Stepping up and stepping out as a man to create or fix something or flesh out a vision that God has put on your heart often creates fertile soil for a man's inner life. God will often do more in you than through you when you step into Authentic Manhood. Kennan Vaughan discussed this with me when I asked him about Downline Ministries, a discipleship effort he began six years ago. I asked him first about the obstacles and challenges he faced in creating a new movement: "I felt the overwhelming odds against success that would often lead to potential discouragement or hopelessness, that would then turn to frustration. That frustration always became a fork in the road for me, either it would nullify any redemptive efforts or it would fuel the flame to push forward."
I also asked Kennan to talk about some of the thing that began to happen inside of him, at a soul level, as he pressed forward into the vision God had placed on his heart. Kennan said, "God increased my faith, humility, passion, and prayer life." I asked Kennan what he has learned about himself, God, and others on this adventure, "God is big and worth trusting. I am small and I must follow Him every step of the way. Others are often passive, so my steps of initiative benefit them. Finally, God seems to bless radical steps of obedience that bring Him glory."
Just like Kennan, any man who has been beckoned off the sidelines and onto the front lines of any new initiative will talk about the challenges and obstacles. There are some land mines we must navigate as men in order to live out the create and cultivate mandate. One land mine for all men is passivity. It is dangerously easy for us as men to not act. Passivity feels more comfortable than initiative. Another land mine is a lack of courage. Like the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, many of us lack courage. Cynicism is also a barrier. Can we really make a difference anyway? Will any of this work? How about the inability to follow through for many of us. Great ideas that never see the light of day and stay unfinished.
Finally, the familiar clothes of selfishness can distract us. Simply being consumed by self. Those are just a few of the character flaws that prevent a man from living up to his mandate and doing life at a high level. It is sad and should be terrifying how easy it is for us as men to slip on the clothes of passivity, mediocrity, and insignificance. Authentic men reject all that. Let's "Man Up" and make create and cultivate our new normal in every phase of life.
This article is an excerpt from 33 The Series Volume 1: A Man and His Design. View Session 1 of A Man and His Design. CLICK HERE to view all 33 The Series resources.