Friday, September 9, 2011

Brent's Missionary Blog

This is Brent's first posting of his new missionary blog! IT IS AMAZING!!! PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ IT!!!

His blog is, The Missionary Mind. Funny, he signs it Elder B. Melvin Gage.

Be a Man!

"Oh come on! Be a man!"
How many of us have heard this one? My three brothers and I flung this challenge at each other constantly while growing up. Always watchful for another's sign of weakness, we would throw out the challenge "Be a man!", and whoever was called out would have to step up: "What do you mean you don't want to jump off the cliff? Be a man!", "You can only do how many push-ups? Be a man!", "You only had three bowls of ice cream? Oh come on! Be a man!"

Needless to say, my view of what was a 'man' was was a little off.

Over the years, my insight into what a man really is has changed and grown. When I was younger, I would look to the action heroes and say to myself, "Now that is a man!" I would see their 'strength', their daring, their disregard for safety, and for others, and I would believe that that was the ideal. I would strive to be like them; emulating their attributes I would behave as I thought a man should behave. And I believed that I was heading down the right path.

My friends, I was wrong.

I believe that society has distorted what the ideal man is. With movies, music, and TV, the image of what a boy should hope to become has changed from what it was intended to be. Today we are bombarded with images of men gratifying their own desires, violently striving for their own pleasures, and seeking to tear others down so that they may have what they want. They commit to nothing. They think of no one but themselves. A family is the last thing on their minds, especially if they already have one. In short, I believe selfishness has been the downfall of true manhood.

In "The Family: A Proclamation To The World" we are taught that "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families". Fatherhood is a divine office to hold. I want all of you fathers to think of that for a moment. You are entrusted with the stewardship of your family. You are to love them. Guide them. Provide for their needs. Protect them. Teach them. And these responsibilities are appointed to you by the Divine Father of us all. The Creator of the universe has entrusted YOU with some of His most prized possessions: His children.

How great is your calling!

Now, I have realized a different source to look for examples for what a real man should be. I have been blessed with the incredible example of my father, and the inspiring example of my grandfather. My father is the hardest worker I know. He's a tough guy. He's worked at the same factory job for nearly 25 years, trying to give us a better life than he had. He's got leathery hands, and a soft heart. His family has always been first in his life. I cannot express the gratitude I have for my father. My grandfather has also been an example I will always cherish. He has 10 children, and raised them all on a machinist's salary. He's worked the same job for over 40 years, working long days and often returning home just to work some more. My grandfather is humble, yet a genius; hard working, yet gentle; strong, with the biggest heart I've ever known. If I could become half the man my grandfather is, I would have lived a life well spent.

The ultimate example of manhood is our Savior Jesus Christ. If there ever were a question as to how a man should be, we need look no further than the pages of the New Testament. In everything He did He displayed the divine attributes of the perfect Man. He was humble. He was hard working. He spent His life in the service of others, taking no thought for His own needs or wants. And at the end of His mortal ministry He made the ultimate sacrifice; atoning for our sins and giving His life so that we may have life eternal. "Greater love hath no manthan this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" -John 15:13 (italics added). Should we not all look to the example of the world's only Perfect Man for the example of the Ideal Man?

“What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”-3 Nephi 27:27
“Behold the man!”-John 19:5
“Arise from the dust, … and be men.”-2 Nephi 1:21

In a recent general conference talk, Elder D. Todd Christofferson issued the invitation "Let us be men", and I wish to re-sound that call.
My friends, let us be men.
Let us put others before ourselves. Let us deflate our puffed up hearts. Let us find joy in serving others. Let us work without complaint. Let us love without reserve. Let us treat those we love with respect. Let us put the things of God before the things of men. Let us give our lives to our families. Let us bring peace to the troubled. Let us be the strength of the weak. Let us give hope to the hopeless, and kindness to the downtrodden. My friends, let us be men, as Christ was.