by Todd Nagel
It’s challenging to meet all the demands that life requests of me these days. I’m a husband and a dad to four kids between the ages of 4-10 whom I love very much but who have greatly contributed to my premature balding. I’m coaching a basketball team made up of 10 first- and second-grade boys who don’t pay a bit of attention to a word I’m saying. My wife and I lead a small group that isn’t all that small when all 26 people show up, and I have more work hitting my desk and inbox than is getting done. As the provider for my family I’m constantly wondering how our money is going to make it until the end of the month. Sometimes when my head hits the pillow at night I find myself reciting Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
There have been seasons in my life when I’ve lived in incredible community with other men. Guys who were dealing with the same stresses and struggles as me. Guys I could call or text and unload my current burden to. And they in turn did the same with me.
Because of changes in careers and various other reasons, we’ve all moved away, ending the seasons of close community. So I know what it’s like to live without close friends, in isolation, with no one to give me encouragement when the things of life are weighing me down. I know the power of community and I know the emotions of walking this journey alone. For me and my family to thrive, I’m convinced that doing life with other men is the only way.
The Living Bible translation puts it this way in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble.” During the course of this life I will fall down and will need someone there to pull me up. And there will be other guys who fall down who need me to pick them up. You, too, will fall down and need a hand. And likewise someone will need your hand to help him up.
Far too often in our culture, either through pride or embarrassment, men live in isolation. They don’t have close friends to celebrate their victories or encourage them in their defeats. I want men to see the importance of living in community with other like-minded men. I want them to know that plodding along the road of life alone will destroy them, and with them their marriage and kids. Men need to band together, for themselves and for their families.
It’s not an easy thing we’ve been called to as men. But with the right tools and the right community, together we can succeed in a world that’s under attack from the enemy of our souls.