How every man can play a part
By Paul H. Boge
We hear about the children starving overseas. We see the homeless person in our cities. We read about people struggling to beat an addiction.
And deep down inside we sense within ourselves an inclination to get involved.
Yet for some reason we hesitate. We care. We do. But still, we hear reasons for not getting involved.
It’s the government’s responsibility. I can’t spare the money. Please, not another commitment to add to my schedule. I don’t have the required talents to help. Other people are more qualified.
I won’t make a difference.
Social issues are myriad. Substance abuse, abortion, local and third world poverty, education, suicide, unemployment…
So what are we as single men to do in response to social issues?
Eric Metaxas in his book 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness writes: “If we think of the fatherhood of God, we get a picture of someone who is strong and loving and who sacrifices himself for those he loves…God’s idea of making men strong was so that they would use that strength to protect women and children and anyone else.”
Metaxas goes on to say that the reason he chose men like George Washington, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others is that they “evidenced one particular quality: that of surrendering themselves to a higher purpose of giving something away that they might have kept.”
What are we hanging onto that prevents us from being used? How do we break free of that?
We need to listen carefully to God’s call to find out where and how he wants us to get involved, and then we need to surrender our own interests for whatever he places on our hearts to do.
His calling is heard most clearly when we come to the end of ourselves.
As single men, we are sometimes in a better position to dedicate time to a particular cause. But which one?
We can start by prayerfully asking ourselves: What injustices speak to me? Which injustices cause me to rise up and want to protect those who are disadvantaged?
But what if we are not on the giving end of the social issues equation? What if we are in trouble ourselves and are in need of help?
Our culture places a greater emphasis on “I” than it does on “we.” And part of the baggage that comes from that mentality is that we think we should be independent of one another, something the Bible nowhere reinforces. In the face of trouble, we need to have the courage to ask for help.
It is often when we at our lowest that God does his greatest work. Moses’ 40 years in the wilderness. Paul blinded by the Light. Peter after his denial. Great men became great only after Christ could become great within them. God loves you and has greatness in store for you—greatness by his definition which is: Christ in you the hope of glory.
It is in letting go and acknowledging we can’t do it on our own that Christ becomes our all in all.
Singleness is a gift, though it is not always described that way. It is an opportunity to serve—to be used by God to love others and correct wrongs in this world. To show compassion to people who might otherwise not receive it.
But a word of caution. If not getting involved in social issues is a problem, so is becoming over-involved.
Working against social evils is, in and of itself, not the goal. The goal is Christ. The danger comes when we focus only on social problems and take our eyes off Christ, making the improvement of people our mission at the expense of their true transformation in Him.
Harry Lehotsky nearly died of a drug overdose in New York before he came to one of Winnipeg’s toughest areas to show love to homeless people, drug addicts and prostitutes and to confront drug dealers.
He didn’t do it to become an urban saint.
He did it because Christ told him to.
And where Christ calls there is incredible joy.
Which brings us to the challenge of asking ourselves this question: What has God placed on my heart?
Is there an injustice someone is suffering that causes you to want to make it right?
Wilberforce had to rise above culture to end slavery. But first he had to hear God’s call on his heart.
And with that he could withstand all opposition both from within and from without.
And so can we.
Paul H. Boge is a filmmaker, engineer, and the author of Father to the Fatherless: The Charles Mulli Story. He’s single and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
THE ARTICLE ABOVE WAS FEATURED IN THE JANUARY 2014 ISSUE OF SEVEN MAGAZINE. GET SEVEN FREE