[forthright] What Is Desirable in a Man

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2005 14:33:05 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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Today's prayer: Giving up the grouch
http://www.forthright.net/todays_prayer/giving_up_the_grouch.htm
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GUEST COLUMN

What Is Desirable in a Man
by Warren Baldwin

"What is desirable in a man is his kindness; and
it is better to be a poor man than a liar."
Proverbs 19:22. (NASB).

Mmmmmm, don't know about this one. "What is
desirable in a man is his kindness ..." I guess it
depends on who you are and what you are looking
for.

If you are the coach of a professional football
team, and you need a good quarterback RIGHT NOW,
you may not care if the guy you are trying to
recruit says "thank you" to the waitress, or if he
smiles politely when he signs autographs. What you
desire in this man is that he can move the
football ten yards, then another ten yards. Speed,
determination, drive, even a degree of
ruthlessness, are what you desire in this man. But
kindness?

The Hebrew word for kindness is "hesed." Hesed
means steadfast love or kindness. And let's face
it, there are a lot of qualities that our world
values above love or kindness. Do we care if our
stockbroker is a loving man who hugs his children
when he goes home at night? Or do we care more
that he can turn a profit for us?

Do we esteem love or kindness in a boxer? Think
how that can mess a match-up, if a boxer pauses to
apologize to his opponent for hurting him with
that vicious right. "I love you man.... here let
me help you up."

But God values love and kindness. My three kids
value love and kindness in their dad. My wife does
in her husband. And when I don't treat them with
love and kindness, they hurt.

And there is another word for hesed: loyalty.
Loyalty is the quality of hanging in there with
someone through thick and thin. "A friend loves at
all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
(Prov. 17:17). "There is a friend who sticks
closer than a brother." (Prov. 18:24).

Solomon says, "These qualities are what God is
looking for in a man. Others may value some other
professional quality or athletic skill, but to
build a quality life, a man needs love, kindness,
and loyalty. I'd rather see you a poor man with
godly character than have you resort to a success-
at-any-cost mentality. Using worldly techniques
may help you achieve a level of success that will
get you in People magazine, but you will not
become the kind of man I am looking for."

I'm thinking of a certain man's life based on this
quality of hesed: love, kindness, and loyalty.
This man never owned a house. He was never elected
mayor and was never the "Citizen of the Year." His
investment portfolio was ... well, it wasn't.
Didn't have one. These achievements never
registered as important for him.

Instead, he spent his life investing in the lives
of others. He was a caregiver to the sick. He
mourned with mourners and wept with the
brokenhearted. He stopped along the trail to pat a
child on the head and even stooped to give a hug.
He defended the defenseless against the religious
and civic power brokers of his day, placing
himself in jeopardy for doing so.

This man exhibited all the qualities of hesed, but
what did he have to show for it toward the end of
his days? "The Son of man has no place to lay his
head" (Matthew 8:20). The world may not value
hesed. But God does. That is why, after the world
rejected Jesus, his Father honors him even today
as the Glorified Son. Resurrected, ascended, in
the presence of the Father.

What is desirable in a man is his kindness, his
love, his loyalty. God desires those qualities.
And I'll bet your wife does, too. Or your husband,
your children, your parents. And the world might
even begin to value them, if it sees hesed
demonstrated in your life ... with God's power for
today.

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