“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young”
When I was a child I really wanted to be a man real quickly. Doing things like the MAN and so when I made a fluke hit, sure shot or remarkable goal, as a child, I would hear my friends or eye-witnesses say, ‘YOU ARE THE MAN’. That gave a great deal of emotional euphoria. I desperately wanted to be a man. I meant a real man but wouldn’t know how. Many are still out there who only dream of becoming real men but wouldn’t even care to know how before marriage. They end up preparing in marriage rather than for marriage. They would have crossed the Rubicon before they realise how worse they have been, compared to real MEN.
Being a real man begins at home. A man who is successful in all but home is worse than a failure in all. How more can one describe a fool than a man who is not capable of leading his home aright! The problem with men who are failures at home is not changing for better but knowing they are worse than they have always claimed. When I first got married, someone asked me a sincere question:
She said, “Tell me about your parents?”
And I responded proudly, “My father worked very hard for us but we weren’t even close. On the other hand, there was nothing my mother could not do for her children. She was a great woman.”
It was later in that day that it occurred to me that I was becoming what I hated most in my father’s attitude towards us his children and his wife when he was alive. He would go building career for himself and paying off our bills at home and school but we always missed him around. It was when I have a family of mine that I could imagine how hard my mother coped with his absence then. He did all to cater for our material but emotional needs. We needed a father, not his shadow!
When I was growing to become a man, I did as much as possible to map out things or attitudes that might not make me end up a real man, knowing full well that a real man must be a real son, brother, son-in-law, father and best of all, real husband. I tried to stick to instructions and never to break hearts and rules of friendship. I latter got converted to Christ by my grandma and became so committed to God’s service.
I was made a deacon in church, seeing that I was young and zealous for God and His service. I had thought of many ways, the devil could tempt me to cheat on my wife and have desisted from them by God’s grace. Though, the sisters at church still wished I was the man for them and many came in their tempting appearances, but I have made my choice. I never even knew that one might be too committed to church services than one’s service at home. And so I thought my wife was too demanding.
What else could she have wanted? I was not cheating on her. She knew I was just committed to the church of God. I took her complaint for that of the unbeliever’s. How could she be contending with the church, I thought? The wall of my marriage began to fall apart but couldn’t fathom why. I was so engrossed in taking solace at the service I rendered in church and ignoring her complaints. I never thought it necessary to take it slow with church activities that were eating deep into me. I was always available at church but home and couldn’t see anything wrong with that. But something kept telling me that I wasn’t the man I wanted to be. I have always wanted a balance relationship with my family and with my God.
I was becoming less romantic. I, most times, came home late, not from office but church. My wife wanted more of me but I was too insensitive to her tears. Even whenever she tried to make love with me in the way we used to, I would just remember what I probably had left undone at church and unconsciously mutter it out and this, several times, have stopped the fun. I would wonder why she had broken away from the fun, just because she heard me say something about church. After all, it wasn’t a lady’s or woman’s name. I wasn’t cheating on her now! I never even realised that I was with secondary commitment.
I became so miserably pathetic that I had to come late to her M.Sc. Degree convocation from church. She became very angry, though I expected her to understand. When we got home, she refused to say anything to me and that made me angrier. In anger, I walked up to her and said,
“I sincerely don’t understand you o…do you even have the idea how hard putting up with work, church and the bills in the house is? Why do you give so much more problem?”
“Do you really have the idea how hard being ignored for some church hypocritical activities is?” she immediately answered.
What could I have done but watch her walk out on me? When I got to church, the following day, I explained situation of things in my marriage to my Pastor, who heaped the blame on me. I wonder why. He made me realise the fact that the first ministry committed into my hands by God is my home. He said, if I fail in my marriage but succeed in all other commissions, I have failed in all because ministry begins at home.
That means the REAL man is the shepherd who knows and cares about the pain and joy of his flock; brings them to the right pasture and leads them home. The real man complains last and does not run away from responsibility. The real man gives succour, not compels. The real man is the one that leads his family to God, not the one that leaves his behind and claims to be God’s HIT-MAN. Be real!