Tonight I started a 10 week class at my church called “The Measure of a Man”. It’s a small class of about 10 men and I decided to take it so that I could get to know a few of the men of the church in a more intimate setting. I’m not sure what I expected exactly but I quickly noticed that it was different than my undefined expectations. Now some may assume when I say ‘different’ that I intend some negative connotation, however I assure you I mean no such thing.
I spent the evening with this small group of men learning about Spiritual Maturity. The course work itself seems to be sufficient to accomplish the task, and the teacher did a wonderful job facilitating conversation, interaction, and participation. We learned about “Paul’s Maturity Profile”, taken from 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-10.
From those text, the course extrapolates twenty points to which a mature Christian would adhere. These maturity traits range from Not Given to Wine and Husband of One Wife to Prudent and Not contentious. Of the list of twenty, I found that I match exactly three traits – I am not given to wine, I am a husband of one wife, and I am not a new convert. I should like to take some bit of pride in having three of these traits however in doing so I violate several others, not to mention the fact that although I am not given to wine, I consider myself a gluten and by not being a new convert, I would think I should have by now obtained more than simply three traits from this list, leaving me with only the one left to be proud – I am still the husband of one wife. My wife considers this a virtue to her credit and not mine.
Most of the men are older than me by a considerable amount, but I am not the youngest in the group. The youngest is 28 and I believe the only single man in the group. The rest of the group I would guess to be at the least 10 years older than me, with a couple of the men at least 25 years older than me. Its strange to me that a class designed to help men live a mature Christian life is filled with men in the ‘twilight’ years of their lives. This may have been the one quality of the class that I can point to that was different than my expectations, although I’m not sure why I would expect younger men here. I personally feel like such a class would have better served me ten years sooner, however I except the idea that I would not have allowed this material to do its work ten years ago due to my arrogance. As I’ve come to this ‘revelation’ about myself, I look around the room and assume these men will gain much more out of this class than I will allow myself to gain for the same reason. Though I would like to think I am no longer plagued with the arrogance of my youth, my experiences tell me that ten years from now my future self will look at the present me and see just how much I miss the mark.
I left the evening with more enthusiasm than when I came in. I have higher hopes for the class than when I arrived as well. My final thoughts are this:
We spend a lot of our youth thinking we are ahead of the curve, much of our midlife feeling we are behind, and our twilight years learning to be content with what life we have left.