• Johan

Proud men ................take CARE of and SERVE others

Updated: Jun 10

Taking care of one self is a great thing. I think it was in the time of the "sturm-und-drang" years, when I started to grow beard (or rather fluff) and muscles seem to (at last) bulge a bit more, that this "taking care of myself" thing seemed to take off. "I will do what I want" and " I will do it myself" are statements that started to be heard around our house at that time. My father just kept quiet and gave me the responsibility I so badly wanted to take. Then he went and also gave me accountability for those things, and I started to enjoy this "doing it myself" less and less.

But by then I was already caught up in living the modern way (modern at that time !), where it is the acceptable thing to leave home at a young age and show that you can look after yourself in all aspects of life. How painful was it when I had to ask my father to assist me in opening bank accounts. The Bank Manager just would not deal with me without some sort of assistance from my father. But so life continued and I was driven to do my own thing, for my own benefit. I planned a wonderful future for myself.

Then I got married and soon had children. They, as they were growing up, had to understand that it is good to be able to stand on your own two feet. That is how I taught them, explained life to them and showed them through my life!

Now, before you think I did this all wrong, I want to stress that I believe what I was taught and what I transferred to my children, is good. It teaches you to take accountability (with some pain sometimes). If you wants to do your own thing, you must take full responsibility and if anything goes wrong, be accountable. That I believe is not wrong. If leaders in these times were willing to be responsible AND accountable, things would be way better.

Where I did slip up though, is that this way of doing life easily allows a person to focus on himself to a point where it can easily end up in complete selfishness. And selfishness is not only wrong, it is completely unacceptable.

Is it not selfishness that leads to stealing ( I want what you have), lying (tell it to my own benefit), rape (I want it and I want it now), murder (rather your life than mine) ? Name anything that people do that hurt others and I will show you the selfishness in that action.

Men are not innocent in this. We say our drive to work hard and earn well is to look well after our kids and that is commendable. BUT, what if we look a bit closer ..... Is it not the power over people and business in the company (me) or the money that we can do so much with (mine), that we really love and is the real driver? We must be very careful when we analyse our real intent and take care that it does not spell "selfishness" at the end. Maybe our children would prefer less things and more Dad, suggesting that scaling down with work may be a good answer? The test probably is in how you respond to the question: "Dad, will you to consider slowing down or even a lower paying position so that you can spend more time with us?". If your answer is a quick NO, you have to consider selfishness in how you view your life.

I know its not that simple to make the kind of decision asked above, but the question remains: What role does selfishness still play in your life and your decisions? Have a look, think a bit and then answer it for yourself.

Why is this an issue? Because we are placed on earth to live whilst serving others and not to be served, to concentrate on what others need more than what I myself need. This fact was very clearly lived by Jesus Christ. He, the Son of God, God Himself, had to give up being in heaven to come to earth as a man, a poor man, a man in a very dusty and dry country (albeit a wonderful country - try and see it one day!), a man who had to work with His hands to make a living. Not really the life the King of the universe should have taken. But He did, and He did so to death. Why ? The answer lies in His statements in Matthew 10:45 and 20: 28 : " the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life to redeem people". He, who deserved to be served did not accept that, but decided to serve others.

Whether we worship Him as our Redeemer, view Him as the greatest example of all times or even just agree that this is a noble way to act, it follows that it is good to serve rather than be served. Does this mean no man should ever be a leader or a boss? NO ! Jesus served but He was still God. He asks of us, when we are leaders and bosses, to be it in such a way that it would be about the "others" and not about me.

I want to remind you of what President Ramaphosa did when the Covid-19 lockdown started. He decided to take a 30% pay cut for three months. South Africans saw his intention to serve the country in this difficult time, rather than enrich himself at our expense. That is a monetary serving attitude. But he also served (is still serving) in another way. Did he know the lockdown would damage the economy? Yes. Did he know it will probably not stop the virus but at best slow it down? Yes. Did he understand that this decision could eventually cause people to become very unhappy with the situation. Yes. Did he consider that this unhappiness may cause him to lose office when people get really disgruntled about not being able to work and earn a living and opposition parties and factions use this to their advantage? Yes of course.

But still he did it. Why?

It is for him not about himself and his preservation, but about our health and our preservation. He is serving us. He is an example of what we as men should do. Instead of attacking him, we should be trying to be like him.

Once we understand that we are to serve, the questions is what are we to do? Lets start with our families. To serve them as father and husband, I have to serve them financially (food, home, clothes, etc), emotionally (love, acceptance, forgiveness, discipline, support, etc), physically (growth, safety, sport, development, etc) and spiritually (faith). These areas are all equal in importance as they all form a total person. We have the responsibility to serve in each of these areas and ensure that one area is not served at the expense of any of the other areas. We can not concentrate on serving them financially by working so hard that we do not have time for them, thereby possibly inflicting some emotional damage by our absence.

Lets assume the barrel shown represents the life of your child, each vertical timber split represents an area of your child that you should develop and the amount of water you can put into this barrel determines the overall success of your service and is a measure of what your child can become. It must be clear that the lowest timber split will determine the amount of water in the barrel. If we build one split only, the amount of water can not increase as the water will leak out over other lower splits. Just serving financially will create lack in so many other areas that our children will not be better off. Our job is to build all the splits up equally to get maximum impact.

By making sure we cover all aspects regularly, we build them all up together and end up filling the barrel to the rim. If you have to slow down in one area due to circumstances, make sure you come back to it soon and build that area up as well. If you flounder in serving them financially because you lost your job, build the other areas while you are looking for a job. When you can serve them financially again, the other areas will be strong and healthy and you can fill up the barrel as you serve them financially again. If we do not do this, we will eventually come back with finances but find a completely empty, broken barrel that can not hold any water.

Proud men, we have to build up those around us, not break them down. We have to view others as more important than ourselves, and stop at nothing to fill them to the rim. Become a servant, and you will soon realise that those you served will honour you and give you everything you really wanted in the first place, but then because they want to say thank you for serving them.

God was willing to give up His life to serve us.

Now you go and do the same for others ........ and stand proud because you are following THE Greatest Example ever given.