The cost of doing right: Doing right may mean risking a friendship or popularity. It could mean the loss of a job or finances. It sometimes costs something very precious to us, even our lives, to stand up for righteousness.
We, also, need friends who will speak the truth to us, but, many times we choose those who will tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. Others actually hate the truth because it interferes with their lifestyles.
What a great reminder in chapter 21, the story of Naboth, that sometimes when we do what’s right there is a cost. There are times, as in Naboth’s case, when it costs something very precious to us, possibly even our lives. but we have to leave it in the hands of a sovereign God and trust that He knows just what He’s doing!
A while back I read Eric Metaxas’ book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. (If you enjoy biographies or history or you just want a deeper understanding of what it means to be a believer in difficult times, I highly recommend the book.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor. He was one of the few men who stood up to Hitler and it cost him his life. He was hanged (in an act of sheer revenge on Hitler’s part) just 3 weeks before the war ended. He was only 39 years old when he died, but his life, his writings, and his story have impacted generations. Continue reading →
We all need heroes. Even the Apostle Paul said that we were to follow him and others as they follow Christ, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3.17).
On the other hand he warned us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15.33).
Who we hang out with, who we follow, who we choose as heroes, can have a profound effect on our lives. When we read the biographies of great men and women who have gone before us, we have an opportunity to see how they lived and to follow their example.
In Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Metaxas writes about seven men who experienced struggles and faced challenges that would have crushed lesser men. These men and their stories—George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson—can encourage all of us to be strong in the face of opposition and live right in a world that has little or no standard.
What makes great men & what is the secret of their greatness?
What is biblical manhood and what makes men worthy examples? Metaxas’ book doesn’t just tell us, it shows us through the lives of these seven men. (I’ll talk about women who exemplify biblical womanhood in a future blog.)
Metaxas tells us first what it isn’t, here are several excerpts for the opening chapter:
The first false idea about manhood is the idea of being macho— of being a big shot and using strength to be domineering and to bully those who are weaker. Obviously this is not God’s idea of what a real man is. It’s someone who has not grown up emotionally, who might be a man on the outside, but who on the inside is simply an insecure and selfish boy.
The second false choice is to be emasculated— to essentially turn away from your masculinity and to pretend that there is no real difference between men and women. Your strength as a man has no purpose, so being strong isn’t even a good thing.
God’s idea of manhood is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the two false ideas of either being macho or being emasculated. The Bible says that God made us in his image, male and female, and it celebrates masculinity and femininity. And it celebrates the differences between them. Those differences were God’s idea.
For one thing, the Bible says that men are generally stronger than women, and of course Saint Peter famously— or infamously— describes women as “the weaker sex.” But God’s idea of making men strong was so that they would use that strength to protect women and children and anyone else. There’s something heroic in that. Male strength is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, it’s always and everywhere meant to be used to bless others. In Genesis 12:1–3, God tells Abraham that he will bless him so that Abraham can bless others. All blessings and every gift— and strength is a gift— are God’s gifts, to be used for his purposes, which means to bless others. So men are meant to use their strength to protect and bless those who are weaker. That can mean other men who need help or it can mean women and children. True strength is always strength given over to God’s purposes.
Welcome once again to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I’ll feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. Some will be about relationships, emotional struggles, or other areas of practical living. Some are books that have helped me in my personal devotional life. This week’s selection, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a biography.
I enjoy reading biographies and don’t have the time to read nearly as many as I would like, but I read this one a year or so ago. To say the book impacted me would be an understatement!
In case you’re not familiar with him, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor, theologian, and writer (The Cost of Discipleship) who came into his own during Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany. While many pastors and religious leaders were wooed into believing Hitler only wanted the best for Germany, Bonhoeffer refused to close his eyes to what was happening. He was a founding member of the Confessing Church, those who went underground because they refused to fall in line as Hitler nationalized the German church. They understood and taught that God and His Word must be the final authority in life.
Friends who recognized his importance to the true church in Germany got him out of the country and safely to America. But a couple of weeks later, convinced he needed to stand with the believers in his homeland, he was on a boat back to Germany.
He eventually joined the German underground, working selflessly and in spite of great personal danger, to save and protect as many Jews as they could. Over and over he demonstrated great moral courage in the face of unspeakable evil. Eventually, he and others decided Hitler must be stopped.