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Rise Up O Men of God

“Rise up O men of God!
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the king of kings.”
(William P. Merrill)

When beginning a study of the biblical role of women in the church, it is easy to assume that the issue revolves around questions such as what leadership role can women take on: can they lead singing? Preach? Become elders?

But I am convinced that this is not the pressing issue in the church at all. The real issue is the leadership of men in the church. Are men called on to lead in the church? If so, where are they? Why are they not taking the lead?

The Bible teaches the need for men to be the spiritual leaders, in the home and in the church (1 Timothy 2:8, 11, 12; Ephesians 5:22-24), yet many men are oddly reluctant to lead. Why is this the case?

Some, like Moses and Jeremiah, may declare that they are not good at expressing themselves (Exodus 4:10, 11; Jeremiah 1:4-10). God, however, knew what he was doing when he placed men where he did. “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

When I ask men to stand up and be counted, I am not suggesting that every man must become a preacher or a missionary. Imagine, however, what a difference it would make to the church if each man did just two things each week to serve their congregation.

Other men claim they do not lead because they have been “put off” by hypocrites in the church (Matthew 6:5-8). Note, however, that though Jesus condemns religious hypocrites, he never suggests that their hypocrisy is reason enough to quit serving God ourselves. Hypocrisy is a constant factor in human existence; but the presence of hypocrisy is no release from our responsibilities! Real men do the right thing, regardless of what other men do!

Most men just feel they’re too busy. Understand that sin is not the only thing that prevents us from serving God. Often we allow the affairs of life, such as work, or recreation, things that are not bad in themselves, to crowd out our service for God (Matthew 13:22; Matthew 6:31, 32). We must distinguish between the spiritual and the secular. We must develop proper and spiritual priorities.

Some will throw their hands up and cry, “I didn’t know I was needed.” However, we need to develop the ability to look out not only for our interests, but the interests of others (Philippians 2:2-4). Men, open your eyes! There are needs everywhere!

The biggest cop out of all, of course, is the excuse that “it’s not my job.” Like Cain’s casual dismissal of his brother (Genesis 4:9), we depend on the mythical “others in the church” to carry out responsibilities that are ours.

The threat has never been greater. Men, think of our children. Has society ever been scarier? Have there ever been more drugs available, more worldliness, and more sexual promiscuity? Television and the Internet have taken over the task of raising our kids, forming their thinking and morals! When your kid comes home and tells you that you shouldn’t be “judgmental” towards gays and homosexuals because she was taught by her non-Christian schoolteacher, what will you do?

The church is vulnerable, too. As an older generation slips into old age, as their energy and life ebbs away, who will take their place? Are we younger men going to be builders, or detractors? We’ve been pretty good critics of what others have done.

Are we willing to build, to lead, to provide the spiritual shelter our families deserve and need?

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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