I have a regular Bible study in my home with a group of men. That’s right, men. No women allowed….nor men who act like women. I’m not talking about homosexuals. Most of them have more courage than most straight men I know. It takes courage to be an open homosexual. Know how I know? Most Christian men won’t come out of the closet and show their Faith. They will talk about god, because everyone loves god and god loves everybody.
But they won’t mention the name Jesus. There is something about that name. It is too offensive, too divisive, and too exclusive. No, “god” is safe, “Jesus” is divisive. It is important, you know…that name. At the name of Jesus “every knee shall bow….” Want to make people uncomfortable? Start saying “Jesus bless you,” or “Jesus bless America” and watch the folks squirm. Yep, there’s something about that name.
Well, in our Bible study we use that name a lot. We are trying to raise up men who are not ashamed of the Gospel. High-testosterone Christianity, that’s what I call it. And no, I’m not ashamed of it.
One evening a few years ago as the meeting was breaking up one of the knuckle-draggers asked me a question as we were walking towards the door, “Hey Coach, what are you afraid of? You seem to charge into every battle…there has to be something you are afraid of. What scares you, Coach?”
I was kinda taken back as I searched for an answer. I mumbled something trite about courage as he headed out the door, but that question returned to me as I dropped my head on my pillow that night?
“What are you afraid of Coach?”
That might be the most profound, soul-searching question I have ever been asked. So, let me ask you. What are you afraid of? Here is what I discovered….you will serve whatever you fear. Wanna know who you serve? Look at what you fear.
We are told in Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline.”
What do you fear?
My Dad died in 2005. He spent his entire adult life working in a factory. I often wondered if he had other opportunities he could have pursued. Forty years melting steel takes the steel out of your heart. Mouths to feed, bills to pay, locked him in to a safe, risk-free existence. As I stood by his bed in his final hours I couldn’t help but think of the dreams he took to the grave with him... a prisoner of routine, a prisoner of fear, a prisoner of life.
I left the security of public education in 2000. Five years from retirement I left it all on the table to follow a vision. Everything around me screamed I was a fool. We had too much to lose. Three kids to put through college, mortgages to pay, responsibilities to shoulder, like tentacles of an octopus; they struggled to maintain their grip. It was scary, but we faced our fear. Only then did we discover what living really meant.
And it is still scary now, but the octopus is dead. In order to walk on water you must first get out of the boat. Most people live life like they are more afraid of living than they are of dying. Some of you need to cut some tentacles. You are going to be dead for a long time. I could have retired last year if I had played it safe. Today I would be in high-cotton. Instead we live on the edge, trusting in the Lord, fighting the fight, facing the giants.
“Coach,” one of my friends once said. “You are always out there on the edge of the limb. How do you do it?” “I found out years ago that out on the limb is where the fruit hangs.” I grinned.
You see, that night when I was questioned about my fear, I discovered my freedom. I realized that my fear was not in paying my bills, or losing my house, or my retirement. My greatest fear was that my life wouldn’t count, that when I reached the end, I had left some gas in the tank. I know several wealthy men who are nearing death. They have worked all their lives to build wealth. When the end comes, they will stick them in the same cold ground that now holds my father. Death is the great equalizer. As I heard a man once opine I never saw a Brinks truck following a hearse. Lot’s of guys going to the grave with a full tank.
I’m not a big fan of syrupy modern Christian music. But a ballad by the group Casting Crowns has really grabbed my heart. Let me share a few verses with you.
Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves. To step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and He's holding out His hand. But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me. Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The waves they keep on telling me time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win! You’ll never win”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory." Out of all the voices calling out to me. I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth. Oh what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone. Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor, wishing they'd have had the strength to stand.
But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me. Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The giant keeps on telling me time and time again. "Boy you'll never win! You'll never win!" I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth!
America is at the crossroads. Safe, status-quo Christianity will no longer cut it. America needs men who will sling some stones. So, I’ll ask again. What are you afraid of? What are you not becoming for fear of what you might lose? Let go of the trunk and get out on the limb.
You serve whatever you fear. What do you fear? © 2007 Dave Daubenmire - All Rights Reserved - Originally published on January 11, 2007 NewsWithViews.com
Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio. In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain. E-Mail: [email protected]