by Dave Hintz
As a former college pastor, I wore many different hats. Among these was the very essential role of career counselor—especially when it comes to young men. It is my prayer that young men grow into godly spiritual leaders, equipped to one day shepherd their wives, children, and perhaps even the church. One defining characteristic of a leader is direction; they need to know where they are going spiritually as well as vocationally in order to take others with them.
Some young men try their hand at college, only to quit because “it’s not for me.” Then they train and take the test to become a fire fighter, only to discover that they did not make the short list of potential candidates. Then they will take a low-skilled, low-paying job and work there indefinitely while living at home. The next four years are spent eating massive amounts of In and Out burgers, playing video games, and tracking their fantasy sports team. And frankly, this makes young men about as attractive to the opposite sex as a shaved possum—and for good reason.
Paul warns the men of the house in 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.” The apostle makes it clear that the leader of the home must provide for his family. In addition, Paul instructs the women “to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Now, I realize that in many cases it is impossible for the woman to stay home (i.e. single mothers), but in general, the majority of godly young ladies with aspirations of marriage also desire to stay home with their kids. Consequently, they will not be attracted to the twenty-year-old video game aficionado who sorts flavored donuts at Krispy Kreme. This boy is a perennial Peter Pan. He lives in an alternate universe ruled by love of leisure where he will never grow up. As the Wendy of his life moves on, he remains behind, mired in slough of his own immaturity.
Proverbs 15:19 states, “The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.” Inaction creates more work for the future as the hedge of thorns swells, thickens, and swallows the path. Thus, rather than yanking out the weeds when they are still low, the sluggard must later contend with a ten-foot bush. Sloth and complacency build up inertia, requiring an even greater outside force to change. The longer a young man works at Burger King, procrastinates on college, or remains unemployed, the harder it will be to get a good job when he gets the urge to take a wife.
If you find yourself in this situation, or if you realize that your son has just been described, you need to take immediate action. Such young men will flounder in their spiritual lives, live in perpetual immaturity, and fail to draw the woman of their dreams. Yet, it is not too late. If you will resolve to escape the mire of mediocrity God will give you guidance to the good life. But first you have to understand the value and importance of work, a topic to be addressed in part 2.