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Summary: To be a man means that you will observe what the Lord requires, walk in the ways of the Lord, keep the laws of the Lord. Then, you will receive the promise of God.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

“Be a Man!”

Text: 1Kings 2: 1 – 4

The Men of Union have selected as there theme: Union Men: Rebuilding the Wall’s of God’s City. Indeed as in all themes of the past each is founded on the premise that Union Men will be a man. In my opinion over the next two Sundays we will wrestle with this presupposition that we know what it means to be a man and that we understanding what is man.

I believe deducing what is means to be a man is significant in this time. By any measurable standard, men; particularly African American men, are becoming an endangered species. Our mortality and morbidity rates are extremely high.

Indeed it is unfortunate that corporations who are investing in the prison industrial complex are betting that men of color will enhance their balance sheets by their social misconduct. In other words they are betting that the arrest rates and incarceration rates for African American males will validate their investment in the prison industrial complex. It is tragic that we are proving that their economists are correct. Record profits are being made off of the backs and burdens of African American males.

The media’s glorification of social dysfunction is designed to push African American males from the lofty heights God intended for them; to the depths of depravation that would only make the devil rejoice.

One need only to survey the characters played by Denzel Washington to prove this point; when he depicted an angel in the Preacher’s Wife that only made us feel good, but didn’t make much money: but when he plays an American Gangster that a commercial block buster. People who watch that movie and his Academy Award performance in Training Days, leave the theatres of the world with the image in their minds that all African American men either gangsters or social deviatants.

The question therefore is what does it mean to be a man?

If Union Men are to play a role in the rebuilding of the walls of God’s city we must be pristine clear on what that means.

Let me ask again, what does it mean to be a man?

Is it that macho image of an American Gangster that communicates that the end is more important than the means?

Or on the other hand is it the pansy like image of Peter Pan that functions in a never never land distant from reality?

Or is it the thug life image depicted in modern day rap videos that reduce women to the level of a garden tool as a means of bolstering there own self-esteem?

Or is a man, one who stands for something rather than die for anything?

How sad it is that a social phenomenon of these times is that so many African American boys are growing up in homes without men to share with them, interact positively with them, nurture, and direct them.

It is a tragedy that young men are growing up in cities of America having to define what a man is by what they see on the street corners and commercial venues controlled by people who mean them no good.

I’m so glad that I grew up in an era where a man was defined by how he treated women; how he respected people; and how he served God.

I’m go glad that I had more positive images of men; than negative images.

Men who would tip there hats when a women passed them by; men who would get out of their seats to allow someone else to sit down; men who would spend times with boys on Saturdays to teach them how to tie a tie, pitch a tent, or camp under the stars.

I’m so glad that I grew up in a time when men went to church, participated in church, and lived church wherever they went.

If you are bereft of similar experiences, take heed, this text provides a clear road map to travel to develop an understanding of what it means to be a man.

We are introduced to David now as king in the winter season of his life.

You know life has seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Understand that you may regress in time; but you will not recycle time. Like we did last night, the hands of time that are the moments of our lives cannot be turned back.

King David, who we known as a man after God’s own heart; is passing the way of all flesh, the moments of life are winding down to the point where every second counts. There is no time to waste.

In the first chapter of 1 Kings we find David illustrating two essential ingredient of a man.

First we see him needing to be kept warm and his servants direct a young beautiful woman to enter his tent to keep him warm. But King David who is known for his physical prowess, does nothing but benefit from the warmth her body brings. The fact that he refrains from physical contact suggests that a man needs discipline in his dealings with women.

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