The other night, my wife was watching The Wendy Williams Show and I overheard something that really caught my attention. (Please note: I wasn’t watching the show, MY WIFE was watching!) Iyanla Vanzant was a guest on the show and she was commenting on her show on the Oprah Network (which my wife watches sometimes while I’m in the room) called Fix My Life (or something like that). Anyway, former NFL star Terrell Owens had been on Iyanla’s show and apparently she was trying to fix his life. When Wendy asked what she thought was T.O.’s problem, Iyanla offered that, though T.O. had mastered the game of football, he had not mastered the art of “being a man.” That last part reminded me that often women have opinions about the definition of a man or the question, what constitutes a real man?
This is a popular subject on social media and blogs and other platforms where people espouse their views on current issues. I’ve participated in a few of these verbal/written forums myself. And more often than not, people speak from their own experiences and needs. So I thought about it, and reasoned that the only way to come close to settling the question is to hear from an expert. Of course it’s convenient to eliminate all women from this category – how can a woman be an expert on something she’s never been. But finding a man who can really be considered an expert is tricky. What exactly would make him an expert that can’t be said about many other men? And how did he become an expert? Well there’s only one way to settle this question – refer to the creator. Because man was created by God, it only makes sense to consider God the expert on man. He made us for a purpose – a purpose He expects us to fulfill. So what are His expectations?
Without being overly broad, or overly deep, I’d like you to consider 2 things that can be gleaned from the opening chapters of the Bible that implies what God expects from men. First, God expects men to spread and cultivate His influence throughout the earth. In Genesis 2, the Bible explains in detail God’s interaction with Adam. Although in Genesis 1 it appears that God created plants and trees (Day 3) prior to the creation of man (Day 6), Genesis 2:5 says that the shrubs and trees had not “sprung up” yet because there was no man to cultivate the ground. Then God makes Adam and places him in a garden “East, in Eden”. So God placed him in a limited place on the earth and instructs him to make it grow (cultivate it) so that it covers the earth. My point is this. We understand that God has placed man in the role of leaders (Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 11:3, etc.), but I think that often men miss that our position is less about leadership and more about stewardship. We have been entrusted with the earth and all that is in it (including woman) for the purpose of making it all GROW. As illustrated by the parable of the talents told by Jesus in Matthew 25:14-30, we have been entrusted with the responsibility of making everything around us grow and get better. We are supposed to cultivate.
The other thing we are supposed to do is communicate God’s will. In Genesis 2 it is clear that God gave instructions to Adam before Eve was even formed. So once she is presented to him, He becomes responsible for communicating to her and their expected offspring what God has already told him. This is also apparent from Paul’s use of the relationship between Christ and the church to explain man’s responsibility to his wife in Ephesians chapter 5. He essentially says that Christ cleanses the church with the word so that he will present her to himself without blemishes. So men are to use the Word to help his wife grow into a wife without blemish. Man has the responsibility to communicate the Word from God. Man has the responsibility of explaining what God expects from all of us, and how this world that God created works. Remember, Adam named everything before Eve was formed. So men have the responsibility to point out to those who’ve been entrusted to us what the other things are. As our children navigate through the world, we must guide them, pointing out the dangers, and giving them insight into whats “out there”.
Of course, men can only do this well when we stay connected to God, the creator, and hear His Word. We can only be effective to the degree that we understand what God has said and how His world works. And we can only do this if we stay connected to those who’ve been entrusted to us, so that we can communicate these truths to them. This, I firmly believe, is what God expects from men. And I sincerely believe that when we do this consistently, everything and everyone around us will grow and get better – including us.