Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thank you so very much for tuning in today. I want to talk to you about the measure of a man. Specifically, I want to encourage all of us men to step up.
There are many books out there on how to be a better man, especially in a space we call religious literature. In fact, I have several books in my library on this topic ranging from the Mark of a Man to Maximizing Manhood to A Man of Honor, all really good books from a Christian perspective, but perhaps my favorite is a simple little book that I read years ago by Gene Getz, titled The Measure of a Man. [01:06.8]
For over 40 years, this book has been a bestseller, over a million copies sold all over the world, and here's Getz’s simple thesis. True masculinity is not measured by the strength of a man or his title, or even his appearance, but rather by some profound biblical principles that the Apostle Paul shared with his protégés, Timothy and Titus.
Getz calls these principles the attributes of a godly man, and regardless of your religious beliefs or your faith, I believe these attributes can offer practical wisdom that can help all of us men be more authentic on a daily basis. For example, here are some of the attributes, listen to these: building a good reputation, moral purity, being a man of wisdom, being a man of character, becoming a fair-minded man, loving what is good. [02:08.8]
What I love most about this book is the fact that it is very practical. It's practical in its approach to life in general, and to manhood, in particular, and Getz is a master at keeping the attributes simple and relatable. Here's one of my favorites. In the chapter, Loving What Is Good, Getz makes the argument that we all possess the power within us to choose good over evil. He illustrates it in this fashion.
Now, keep in mind with this illustration that he's writing this book in the 1970s when the brand new Boeing 747 is being launched as the airplane of the future. But, anyway, the illustration is spot on.
Getz stated, “Imagine for a moment what happens when a huge Boeing 747 taxis to the end of a runway and prepares to take off. When this gigantic jumbo jet is loaded with passengers, cargo, and fuel, its total weight reaches 500 tons.” [03:16.0]
If we have a limited perspective on natural law, we would conclude that the law of gravity states this is a huge machine that should never leave the ground, but another law can overcome the law of gravity and that law is the law of aerodynamics. When the pilot activates this huge airplane’s four great engines, the plane will lunge forward, move down the runway, lift off and climb skyward. In a matter of minutes, what seemingly should have never gotten off the runway is soaring at 40,000 feet. The power generated by those four engines is absolutely mind-boggling. [04:00.8]
As Christians, friends, we don't have to operate under the law of sin and death. There is a greater law. For all of us, regardless of our religious beliefs, we have free will to choose good over evil. In other words, we can choose to love what is good.
My father, as many of you know, was the wisest man I’ve ever met and yet he was only a third-grade dropout. I gained so many wisdom keys from him that I apply every day in my life, and my dad, for all the 40-plus years that I was with him on the face of this earth, he ended every single conversation with these words, “Son, be good.” As I reflect, I think in his simple way, my dad was reminding me that the measure of a good man begins with simple choices, practical choices that we can make on a daily basis. [05:05.2]
I suppose I'm thinking about The Measure of a Man these days because of a funeral I recently conducted. As a pastor, I do my fair share of funerals and memorial services, but this memorial service really, really moved me, not because of the words I shared, but because of the words that came from the children about their father. My dear friend who passed away was the epitome of the measure of a man. He and his wife were the best neighbors we'd ever had.
When I grew up back in the 1960s, you shared your food with neighbors. You shared vegetables from your garden with friends. I would be so embarrassed when my mother would say, “Baby, we're having beans today. Now, take a bowl of beans next door to Mrs. Johnson's house.”
But that's what we did. We shared our food. We shared our resources. We were neighborly and I think, in many ways, my neighbors that I cherished, neighbors that I called our favorite neighbors allowed me to reminisce. It was nostalgic because everything that came out of their garden ended up on our table. [06:18.8]
Now, here's the measure of a man. Watch this. You give this man a key to your home, so not only did these neighbors share their food with us, but I trusted this neighbor with my family. You know what? When you trust a person with your key to your own house, with your wife and children, when you're out of town, I don’t think it gets more trustworthy than that, right? That's the measure of a man to me. Can I trust you with my family when I'm out of town?
During the memorial service, his grown children reflected on their father and this comment moved me the most. It was said over and over again and it went something like this. “Our dad just loved our mom. He made a promise to her and he fulfilled that promise.” [07:15.2]
Let me just pause for a moment and encourage all of us husbands and fathers. I think the greatest gift that we can give our children, men, is to let our children see us loving their mothers well. What a great gift that we can pass on, right? And these children saw that firsthand and the ramifications, the impact is seismic. It will continue on for generations.
The comment that challenged me the most was this. Listen to this. They said that their mom never in 60 years of marriage, never pumped a gallon of gas. Oh, baby. It caused the widow to say my husband took care of everything. I never had to worry one day in our marriage. [08:11.0]
I want you to listen to these adjectives that describe my former neighbor, my dear friend: loyal, committed, thoughtful, patient, kind, gentle, servant, helpful, caregiver, big heart. As a matter of fact, my friend was only 5’ nothing, weighed 100 and nothing pounds, but 60 years ago, his high school football coach remarked, “He may have the smallest hands on the team, but he's got the biggest heart.” This, my friends, is the true measure of a man.
My advice to self: Rick, worry less about defining masculinity based on a standard that values only what we see. Instead, focus more on being loyal, thoughtful, patient, kind, helpful. [09:13.7]
Men, let's commit to building a good reputation, to moral purity, to being men of wisdom, character, integrity, to becoming fair-minded men, men who use sound judgment and common sense, men who love what is good. As a matter of fact, friends, I have to tell you, the older I get, the more convinced I am that this is truly the measure of a man.
As I conclude this particular episode of this podcast, I can hear my father's voice ringing in my heart with a piercing familiarity and his voice simply says, “Son, be good,” so I say to you, men, be good. Be good. [10:12.2]
I want you to think about these things for a few days and let’s commit this very day to being the kind of men that are children would want to follow as an example, the kind of men that bless their wives, the kind of men that encourage and uplift their children, the kind of men that neighbors can depend on, the kind of men who stand up, who rise up. I want to be that kind of man. [10:52.4]
It has nothing to do with titles or status, or education or degrees, or muscles or looks, but it has everything to do with being the kind of men I believe that our moms and our dads always hoped for. That's the measure of a man and that's what I aspire to this very day. Men, join me, will you?
That’s going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask, how you livin’?
Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.
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