2020 has been Crazy (or cray-cray as my daughters hate to hear me say). Chaotic. Confusing. Complex. Convoluting. Contemptuous. Confining. Conflicted. Contorted. Costly. Circumspect.

In a word: COVID.

So here is my question, men: what have you learned? Have you learned anything about control, or lack thereof? What about commitment? Did you get a chance to come face to face with the loss of some idols that you didn’t even know you had? Did you realize that in the past you failed to recognize or simply ignored the plight that your brother may have been experiencing? Surely, we, as men of integrity and conviction, would not waste such an opportunity to spend time coming to grips with ourselves, our family, our Creator…would we?

More so now than at any time in the past six decades that I have walked the earth, we have all been placed in the fire, on the anvil….and we are being forged. If we will take the opportunity of the lessons learned, and allow the Father to form and shape us, we can and will come out stronger. Just as a piece of metal is forged on the anvil by a master craftsman, true men of God are made sharper, stronger and purer by the Father through times of intensity.

“I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, Yahweh, do all these things”, Isaiah 45:7

This time of COVID has been an opportunity for us to examine the way we have done things and to re-evaluate what it means. We have all had to figure out new ways of doing things; new ways of communicating, of working, of community. We have all had to re-prioritize aspects of our lives. And we have all had to look to the future and contemplate what changes we will need to endure in order to move forward.

Men of God, brothers in Christ, we have before us the greatest opportunity we have ever been given. We have before us the chance to set the record straight as to who we are and more importantly Whose we are. If we will accept the responsibilities that the Creator Father has given us and lead as He has directed us, then we will submit ourselves to His will. We will humble ourselves. We will repent of our apathy and ignorance. We will look past the differences between us and encourage that which we hold as Truth—a focused passion to Christ and His Kingdom work. We will be the servant leaders who follow the Servant Leader; boldly proclaiming His Word, not ours. Steadfastly standing beside our brothers and sisters in unity, not in divisive individualism. What are you doing with your brothers in your church, your community, to move toward such an end? 2019 will not come back, and (thankfully) neither will 2020. But 2021 and beyond…….

Later this month, the SCBI INTEGRIS men’s Conference will be held at Highland Lakes. I hope you will join us as we discuss these thoughts. We will enjoy a fellowship that we have been missing for so many months; we will be encouraged and challenged; and we will commit to enduring the time on the anvil, knowing that the Father will make use of us as He will, for His Kingdom and for His glory. “The times, they are a-changing”….and it is exciting.

Jim Shields

Director, SCBI INTEGRIS Men’s Ministry.