If you're like me during this season of Easter and Passover sometime late Sunday evening after all the family festivities are over, your mind will remember the countless times you saw Charlton Heston playing the role of Moses in Cecil B. Demille's Ten Commandments on network television. Seeing the transformation of Moses always impresses me as to the Lord's patient handiwork of us as sons, fathers and leaders.
Yet, how many of us would consider Moses to be a great mentor to a guy in new-found fatherhood. Could you see this stony white-haired figure taking the time to sit down and speak with a young man who just found out he's a father? A kid totally unprepared to handle the situation. Can you see Moses taking the time to counsel a man? Tattoos and low riding jeans on one side and a distinguished figure in Hebrew garb on the other. Can you see it?
No, I didn't think so. But it was worth the shot to get your mind racing and your juices flowing.
I'd contend that a unique portion of scripture, something Moses requested, is by far one of the greatest tools you can use in meeting with a young man facing new-found fatherhood for the very first time. Read with me:
"When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)" Number 13:17-20 (NIV)
Let's unpack each request one by one:
1) See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many? What's this young man's home life like? What's the relationship with his parents, siblings and friends reveal to you? How does this young man's peer group of family and friends bear down on his decision making process?
2) What kind of land to they live in? Probe a little more. What is the cultural makeup of this young man's home, school and work life like as a whole picture? What are the societal norms he is going to come against, flow with or avoid as a result of this pregnancy. You need to know this - 72% of young men facing unplanned pregnancy rely on their friends for advice FIRST before seeking the counsel of their elders, specifically parents.
3) Is it good or bad? Probing even more. Discover the potholes, the battles this young man is going to face internally and externally. No plant can grow in bad soil, as well a child, a young mother and father will also have a hard time growing if the soil is not good. Do what you can to exploit that soil in his life which is good.
4) What kind of towns do they live in? Drilling down - How is this young man's very own home and direct neighborhood impact for the positive or negative a decision to stand by the woman he's responsible for and child he's a father too? What will you have to help him unpack to prepare for these uncovered realities?
5) Are they unwalled or fortified? Can you identify the strongest opponent in this man's life? Who will come against him and his desires? Does he feel beholden to someone? Is there an influence in this man's life that you can see that would have a negative impact on this man taking a stand?
6) How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Are there people or other organizations this man is part of that bring him joy, lift him up and encourage him that could be leveraged to help him and help you encourage him to doing what's right? Have you uncovered anything in this man's immediate circle, personal or otherwise, that can help promote positive growth?
7) Do your best to bring back some fruit of the land. (personally my favorite request of the seven) Moses asks the spies to bring back fruit (I.E. God's greater good) and prove to those watching of God's promise being true. As for you, what can you uncover in this young man's life that is GOOD? Something about him personally that you can build on. Something that as I like to say, 'Honors the man'. Affirm him, let him know if he's here with you, there's something good deep down inside of him and you'd like to help him dig it out.
Seven powerful requests of Moses that you can use to get a 'lay of the land' in a young man's life.
I hope these suggestions have been of great help to you in your ability to reach and love men through this season of their lives, their child's lives and the women they are responsible for.
Till next time,