I feel less of a man when I am failing to produce results. And today, I feel less of a man!
I could go on.
Those are words that describe the value of a man in America. The Industrial Age has embedded in us the value of “Get ‘er Done”. The results I “should” be producing are based on expectations that I or others have defined.
In other words, I will be successful if… (fill in the blank). Our measures of success are tangible results. If I don’t see what I think I ought to be seeing with X amount of time and energy invested, then I am a failure.
Should it be so?
That’s not a rhetorical question… I’m really asking.
It’s a theological question. Maybe it comes down to a question of secular humanism. In a culture which values man simply for what he has to offer and what he can produce, it should be so. Those who can offer and produce more are more valuable than those who can’t pull their weight.
I would love to say that I do not value men for what they have to offer, but I would be lying! I do. It may not come across outwardly, but in my mind I feel differently about those who have “something to offer”. I want to invest in them. I want to see them succeed. I want to spend time with them.
What Does Scripture Say?
Is there Biblical precedent for living this way? I mean really. I want to know the truth about this and not just say what sounds good or feels right.
Paul dumped John Mark because he wasn’t “faithful” to the work. Jesus elevated Peter for his diligence and passion. Nehemiah is honored for his productivity in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
And what about the church? When a local church is out to hire a pastor they search for the person who fits their non-essential preferences. For example, if we were talking about a church that valued scripture knowledge above all else, they would hire the most educated. If we were following a church that valued evangelism, they would hire the most charismatic and outward focused. What qualifies a person for a church position is the level at which he/she can produce what the church members expect of their pastor.
None of this is a question when life is at its best and one is living “productively”, but it sure hits hard when he hasn’t met the expectations that he has placed on himself… much less the expectations others have placed on him.
Do we blame others for their expectations or do we continue to strive to produce?
Let me know what you think. I’m truly interested and I know it would help the other men who read.