In 1968, Little Rock native, Charles Portis, published his most famous novel, True Grit, as a weekly serial for the Saturday Evening Post. The story’s main character, Rooster Cogburn, is a washed up, over-the-hill lawman — a man whose vices had robbed him of every shred respect and responsibility. No one expected much of Rooster Cogburn. Nor did he expect much from himself. But young Mattie Ross recognized that somewhere deep inside of him was a man of ‘True Grit.’
The world today does not expect much from men. The growing cultural ambiguity over gender has brought confusion to men regarding their unique identity and calling, robbing men of respect and responsibility. The concept of masculinity has become a vacuum which has sucked up every worldly idea of what makes a man a man.
Men are looking for role models, someone to follow – a narrative to fill the vacuum. In his book, The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell astutely noted that men are drawn to stories of strong men. But what he failed to grasp is that it is real men, not mythical ones, whose examples are needed.
Such men are not to be found in legend or in the movies, but in the Bible. Contrary to the assertions of skeptics, the Bible the most well attested collection of historical stories of great and influential real men. Men who wrestled with the question, “What does it mean to live and lead like a man?” Nehemiah was one of these men. He was a man with ‘true grit.’ The Book of Nehemiah reveals some essential principles for godly manhood, but,
“we do not come to the Bible primarily to study a man’s character or Christian methods, we come to meet God; a message has little value unless it brings us to the feet of our Savior.” Alan Redpath.
Men today are searching for significance — significance in their manhood, their vocation, their role within the family and their world. Men want to know how to live and lead. Nehemiah was confronted with these same challenges as he sought to reform the church and state of his day. His example has much to teach us as men.
Join with other men as we gather Thursday mornings, beginning July 27, from 6:30 – 7:30am at Panera Bread, 10701 Kanis Rd, Little Rock, for fellowship, prayer and discussion of godly manhood from the life of Nehemiah.