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“Honor Such Men” : A Call to Sons, Brothers, Workers, Soldiers, and Servants

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I am grateful for a culture that stops to recognize and celebrate men of honor. In the age of Homer Simpson and a thousand other doppelgängers just like him in TV and film, we’ve become too familiar with dismissing men as clueless, lazy, self-consumed, and proud of it; the “lovable fool” who falls far short of the Father whose image we bear. In Philippians 2, Paul celebrates two men named Timothy and Epaphroditus who show us six traits of a man after God’s heart.

I am overwhelmed and honored to see so many of the men described below in my family, my church, my city, and to the ends of the earth. Men, I honor you. I am better because of you. And I take my place in the ranks next to you as our King calls us to love more fiercely, serve more selflessly, and go more readily…until every son and daughter is home. 

My prayer as you read these words is that you will see yourself there. I pray fresh fuel upon every fire that burns within you to live worthy of your calling. And in any place you feel like you’ve drifted off to sleep, I pray a clarion call to reawaken your heart to action. Mostly, I pray in expectancy of a global brotherhood of saints who, when asked, “Where are the men of honor?,” will respond without hesitation or reservation, “Here we are!”

We are Sons 

“You know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.” Philippians 2:22 

Paul celebrates Timothy not as a lone ranger, self-built ‘man’s man,’ but as a “son,” willing to be mentored, shaped, challenged, and matured by both his spiritual father and his heavenly Father. Isolated accomplishment can never form what can only be forged in the fires of sonship. Before we are anything else, we are sons who are called to “abide” (a word meaning to “stubbornly sit”) at the feet of our Father. 

Where are the men who are unafraid to walk in the tenderness of intimacy with God like a son bonding with his dad? 

Where are the ones who will make space to tell Him everything in their heart and who will sit in stillness before His Word? 

I honor such men. 

We are Brothers 

“I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brotherPhilippians 2:25 

A “brother” is “one belonging to the same people, whether by blood or willing affection.” The truth is, we all share the same Father…and Jesus said the whole world would understand the reality of the Father’s love by how we, His kids, love each other. 

Jesus’ disciples were vastly different politically; a tax collector and a zealot broke bread from the same loaf. They varied in personality, as quiet Andrew found both a physical and spiritual brother in impulsive Peter. 

Where are the men strong enough to lock arms even though they don’t always agree; men who refuse to cancel, gossip, label, or quit? 

Where are the men who will stay in hard places, refusing to retreat into comfort or offense?

Where are the “brother’s keepers” who refuse to turn a deaf ear to global cries for justice and mercy, but who love their literal neighbors as if they were their literal selves?

I honor such men.

We are Co-Workers

“…and fellow worker…” Philippians 2:25

“Co-worker” is a compound word, meaning “one who undertakes work with the same fervency and energy.” I am concerned for how the professionalization of “ministry” has emasculated the shared ownership of the saints in the “all in” work of the gospel. This tragic shift has affected men more than anyone. 

In our modern a la carte society, we seek experts for every area of our lives to provide a desired service…and when they fail to meet our expectations, we cancel them in search of another. Our mechanic is our “car expert,” and our doctor is our “health expert.” Sadly, we’ve carried it into the Church. Failing to see that our leaders and overseers are not “Spiritual Life Experts,” but instead servants who help “equip us for our own works of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12), many have unknowingly abdicated being a “co-worker” for the passive role of sporadic church engagement. And many overseers have been complicit. It has to change. 

Where are the men who will say, "Zeal for my Father’s house consumes me?”

Where are the brave ones ready to BE the Church, “spending themselves for the poor,” and setting captives free?

Who will put their hand to the plow of God’s field and not look back?

I honor such men.

We are Co-Soldiers 

“…and fellow soldier…” Philippians 2:25 

A “co-soldier” is “one who shares equally in the labors and conflicts" of following Jesus. We are in a war, but we don’t wage war like the world. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, and our weapons are not aimed at our fellow man. Indeed, even those who consider themselves our enemies are to be met with our love and prayer for their ultimate transformation.

We have an enemy; the father of lies and accuser of the brethren. And we are co-soldiers who “tear down every argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,” so that many can “escape the trap of the enemy who has taken them captive to do his will.” We are fierce against our adversary, yet tender to God’s adored creation, seeking to restore everyone “in a spirit of gentleness.”*

Where are the men who will join the call of Nehemiah and fight for their fellow man, no matter the cost?

Where are the fervent intercessors, the patient counselors, and the ever present fathers who refuse to check out emotionally, spending their very lives on the battlefield of the Kingdom, so others live free? 

I honor such men.

We are Messengers 

“…and your messenger…” Philippians 2:25 

The word “messenger” is where we get “apostle” and it means “one who is sent as a delegate.” A messenger understands there is only ONE real calling for the follower of Jesus…and we take it into every job and room we enter. We are to know Christ and to make Him known. 

Messengers don’t get exasperated by lacking amenities in their present assignment, because they aren’t looking at the perks. They are consumed by love for the people God placed before them. 

Where are the men who will refuse to wallow in an undesirable job, but will “gird up their loins with truth,” square their shoulders, and go joyfully into their field, trusting God to bring the harvest? 

I honor such men. 

We are Ministers 

“…and minister to my need…” Philippians 2:25

A "minister" is “a servant to the needs of the public.” Our world is drowning with critics in the very places it needs servants. Like NFL commentators who sit in air conditioned booths to offer their evaluation of active players, many are quick to give opinions about their bosses, neighbors, and churches. But “ministers” spend their energy actually suiting up and helping on the field

Where are the men of action who will see “the needs of the public” in every space they enter and refuse to wait to be invited or recruited to do something about it? 

Where are the brave ones who will see the weaknesses and gaps in their families, churches, neighborhoods, and workplaces as invitations to get in the dirt and patiently cultivate the land until fruit appears on the vine?

I honor such men.

Where are the men who will step up, the men of honor? 

Here we are.

*Scriptures cited in “Co-worker” section: Ephesians 6:1-12, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Matthew 5:44, 2 Timothy 2:26, John 8:44, Revelation 12:10, Galatians 6:1, Nehemiah 4:14. 

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