Stu Weber in his book, “The heart of a Tender Warrior,” suggests the role of “wagon scout” for men. In the old west, he was the guy who goes out ahead of the wagon train. He give direction. He anticipates needs. He helps define the route. He is a man who gives a vision for the road ahead. As a young boy, I loved going to the Saturday afternoon matinee to watch cowboy movies. I remember being inspired by the courage of the wagon scout as he ventured into unknown territory. “God expects men,” says Weber, “to be providers in the most complete sense of the word…..leaders with eyes on the horizon, anticipating the perils, smelling hope in the wind, and inspiring loved one to follow.”
I make reference to the wagon scout image, because, in my humble opinion, our culture is in for some turbulent times. Bureaucratic decay, massive public debt, an overstretched military, a political system seemingly incapable of responding to challenges are all signs of trouble. Rod Dreher points out that, “rising hedonism, waning religious observance, ongoing break-up of the family, and a general lose of cultural coherence…..are signs of a possible Dark Age ahead.” Law professor, Robert P George has concluded, “the day of socially acceptable Christianity are over…..It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian….authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel.” I think all who read this blog can agree the days ahead are uncertain.
This calls for men who can look out on the horizon, have a vision and be willing to lead. The times call for men who have a purpose bigger then themselves. I like the way the Message expresses Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ. who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” There you have it – that forward, outward, adventurous outlook. Paul is off and running and not going back. Men, don’t be intimidated by the demands of the culture. You are called to more then just that small worldview that culture reflects.
Think of your calling as a Wagon Scout, especially at home. Your wife and children need your leadership. I still have that sense at my age, with Judy and I. I keep looking out ahead. I certainly don’t have all the details, but I have some impressions about our future. I can have the tendency to be fearful, uncertain and even intimidated about our future. But I want to press on, wanting to finish strong. I close with these words from Ps. 84:5-8 (NLT). The words describe the pilgrimage to Jerusalem (our spiritual home). “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” Men, we are to keep our eyes on the horizon as we anticipate the heavenly Jersusalem.