A mentor recently reminded me that the unpredictability of the pandemic and everything that goes with it can cause us, as men, to doubt our abilities, our creativity, and our resolve. Sure, everyone has days or moments of doubt. We all experience anxiety to some degree. Our bodies are wired with that “fight or flight” response. With all of the stimuli we have received in the past year from the internet, from television news, politics, medical journals and blogs, and all of our friends providing unsolicited advice, is it any wonder that historically-stable people are falling into the trap of anxiety and depression? Yes, even the most steadfast men you know can stop to question the situation. If we aren’t careful, we, too, could get sucked into an emotional black hole. When that happens, it can cause us to freeze and hesitate. Our spiritual life, our physical body, and our relationships might suffer as well.
In all honesty, no one will hold it against you if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one; the loss of a job/career; difficulty in your marriage; diverse political views within your family that cause separation and strife; or any other pandemic related crisis. 2020 had it all. Is it any wonder that many of us feel like we’re being pinched in a vice? Now, of all times, is when men of God need to stand together, lending strength and encouragement in difficult times. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
If you know me at all you know that I LOVE Sunday School. I believe with all my heart that Sunday School is vital in the life of every believer. It’s where a big church becomes small. It’s where life-long relationships can be formed. Sunday School is where we can reach the lost. We can teach believers more about the Word and examine it more closely. It’s where we can minister to one another in difficult times. I believe that everyone – man, woman, and child – should be actively committed to a Sunday School class.
Since friendships are so vital in Christian life, I believe that every man should have himself in church on Sunday morning. If he has a family, his wife and children should be with him. As the biblically appointed leader of the family, every man should participate in weekly activities at the church if medically appropriate to do so. I realize that some people still have legitimate physical and medical hurdles that keep them from attending in person. Yes, for that reason we have virtual Sunday School and worship on iCampus. But if physically possible, the healthiest place for you to be every Sunday is in worship and Sunday School. We are all mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthier because we have spent time in God’s presence, studying His Word, and enjoying the fellowship and community of like-minded Christians. We can encourage and strengthen one another when we spend time together in Sunday School and worship.
For many of us, the uncertainty and unpredictability of the past year has caused us to doubt ourselves even to the point of considering parts of our lives or even ourselves a failure. In his book, How Can I Know?, Dr. Jeffress says, “Failure drains our emotional and physical strength. Understanding that reality, God often provides us with an intermission (often against our will) during which we can recharge our depleted emotional and physical batteries, regain our perspective, and eventually resume our life story. Instead of resenting that lull between our failure and our future, see it as a gift from God to prepare you for your second act.” I submit to you that you can best recharge your depleted batteries in the presence of other believers in worship and Sunday School.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” In order for the blade to be formed, it must be put in the fire and beaten/shaped with a hammer. Then for the blade to be sharpened, it must experience the friction of the wet rock as the rough spots are worn down and the blade itself is brought to a sharpened edge. If medically possible, you need to be at church on Sunday morning so that others can pour into you and the shared blessing of fellowship can reignite the fire within you.