Study vs. Worship

An African bishop described the wonderful things his churches were doing in a difficult part of his country. Hundreds of us listened to him, and we were deeply moved. After he spoke, the bishop took questions. Someone asked what a great many of us wanted to know: Why aren’t things like you describe happening here in our country?

The man wasn’t a diplomat. I liked that about him, and I liked it more after he answered this question. He said, “Here is the reason you do not have such things happening in this country. You Americans study your God. We Africans worship ours. You get smarter. We get changed. And then we change the world around us.”

His next words never left me. “By doing rather than merely studying, we create a culture. Newcomers and the young feed on that culture. They watch. They do. They, too, are changed. Our culture expands. You Americans create a system of thought. The most you ask is that people contemplate new ideas. You might ask them to give or to sometimes attend meetings, but no contagious culture is created. Nothing is offered to newcomers and the young but thoughts. So they think. They don’t do.”

We are changed. We craft a contagious culture. People feed on this culture and change the world.

It is exactly the same with the making of men. We can inspire and teach men with study—with words, books, and classes. We can only make men, though, in the contagious culture created by other genuine men.

The good news is this happens naturally. Put a young, unformed man in the presence of older men, and the process automatically begins. It is simply the outworking of the way men are made. The young man watches. He listens. He ponders. Soon, he becomes what he beholds. He starts patterning himself, almost without intending to, after these impressive older men. This can happen without the older men intentionally teaching a lesson or addressing the younger man directly. It is a result of the contagious power of genuine manhood and the way men intuitively absorb the manly culture around them…

This, then, is Mansfield’s Manly Maxim #3: Manly men build manly men. 

Challenge: Who are the young men watching you and what kind of example will you be for them? 

Prov 27:17 – 17As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

1Peter5:5 – In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

From the devotional titled, “Become Your Most Masculine Self”

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