By E. Brown
I just finished 7 Men And The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas and it was inspiring as well as convicting. Metaxas states in the introduction, “I was looking for seven men who had all evinced one particular quality: that of surrendering themselves to a higher purpose, of giving something away that they might have kept.”
Surprisingly, this book is as much about manhood as it is about seven distinct men. It is a clarion call to men who have bought into one of two false ideas about being a man: a man is to be “macho” or is to be emasculated and weak. Both are extremes and camping out on either extreme is totally wrong. The first is an overbearing attitude of strength while the latter sees no purpose in strength. Following these choices to their ends will leave our society without men and only “two kinds of boys: boasting loud-mouthed bullies or soft, emasculated pseudo-men.”
Wow! Does that sting? Does that make you upset? Maybe it’s because you have fallen into one of these two camps. It is easy to do. So what are we to do?
As Metaxas says, “…at the heart of what it is to be a man is that idea of being selfless, …of sometimes surrendering something that is yours for a larger purpose–of giving what is yours in the service of others.” That is why he chose these seven men to write about. Each had large measures of influence and opportunities to grasp power for their own use but instead chose to cling to a higher calling and purpose.
- George Washington could have become the first king of America but chose to give his service to a higher cause.
- William Wilberforce gave up the chance to be prime minister of England.
- Eric Liddell, unlike many of our current sports figures, put aside fame for a higher calling.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer surrendered his freedom to the nazis.
- Jackie Robinson chose not to fight back.
- Pope John Paul II gave his whole life to serve God.
- Chuck Colson abused power in the Watergate scandal, but when given the opportunity to plea bargain he voluntarily pled guilty.
One sentence does not tell the stories behind each man. There is more here that needs to be told and you will have to read it for yourself. Pick up a copy of 7 Men And The Secret of Their Greatness and let me know what you think.