I write part of our church's weekly Bible study sheet. The other day I challenged a gathering of some of our church's young leaders to make sure they read it, together with the scriptures it comments on.
The next night I got a text from one of them, a wonderfully headstrong (did someone mention the word 'arrogant'?) young man. 'If you're gonna make us read the study sheet' he texted, 'couldn't you write some better questions?'
Somewhere between amused and annoyed I texted back and invited him to write the next one.
I should have known. Back came the reply: 'All right then, send me the template.' So the challenge was on. I emailed him the template yesterday and sure enough this morning a Bible study on Isaiah 9 and 1 Thessalonians 5 arrived in my inbox.
And do you know what? It was really pretty good. How deliciously humbling. So I replied to the email saying, 'I might have known you'd take my challenge, seize it by the horns and tame it'. I intend to use what he's written as the basis for the study when it comes out in a few weeks.
I also said this to my young brother: 'Respect. (Oh, and by the way, I love your 'arrogance', it reminds me of David in 1 Samuel 17. So keep it up - God will sort out the humility side and it doesn't do for a young man to over do humility anyway...)'
I don't know what you think of that last statement; perhaps it seems heretical to you. But it seems to me that in a culture which is fairly feminized and where masculinity has become either a silly stereotype or the object of ridicule, we ought to be encouraging our young men to be more confident. Audacious. To swagger and throw their weight around a little more, and not to apologise too much. Yes - to be a bit 'arrogant' just like young David who protests in the face of his elder brethren 'Now what have I done? Can't I even speak?!' [1 Sam.17:29] and goes on to slay Goliath.
As for my young brother, I love him dearly even despite (in fact because of) his swagger. He has a great, glorious, humbling and therefore exalted future in God.