This past weekend, we celebrated my son’s thirteenth birthday. My husband threw him a party and gave him a commission. It was deeply meaningful and powerful, and I hope you don’t mind my sharing it.
We begin the ceremony of commissioning Alan into manhood. Unfortunately, one of the greatest living men, my father, wasn’t able to attend. He is fulfilling a commitment that he made before God to provide for another. He embodies much of what I want you to be. As good an example as Charles Emerson Wiseman is, I ask you to follow an even higher standard, that is the standard given to you by God.
As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them. God has seen fit to give us three arrows so far.
An arrow is made of three parts, the tip, the shaft and the feathers. The tip is the business end. It is hard, sharp and dangerous. You will have to be hard sometimes. You will have to do what is right in spite of adversity. You will have to endure many trials without help from anyone you can see. Enduring trials is difficult, but you never have to endure your trials alone. I will not always be with you, just as my Dad won’t always be with me. These other men will not always be with you, the spouse that God provides you will not always be with you, but Jesus will NEVER leave you or forsake you. Trust in Him. Lean on Him.
You will need to be sharp. It is much easier to cut with a sharp knife. If the knife is dull, the labor is increased. You are being sharpened by your mother, but you are becoming responsible for keeping your blade sharp. Study. Study to show yourself approved before God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Be as wise as a serpent, but as harmless as a dove. Walk circumspectly, looking around you, because the days are evil.
Being sharp is useful and dangerous. Every man here has cut his finger with a sharp knife. Understand that you have the power of destruction within you. Be careful. You must understand that your activities and your words must be tempered with love or you will destroy or at least harm others.
The arrow has a shaft. If the shaft is not straight, the arrow will not fly true. Guard your heart. Make a covenant with your eyes. Confess freely. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean toward your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. I will pray for you as long as I live, but this begins a time in your life when I won’t always be around. I encourage you to keep yourself from evil.
Lastly, the arrow has feathers. Feathers slow down the arrow and keep it flying true. Running full bore into some situations will not be wise. Be patient and wait on the Lord. He will not always act in the timeframe that you want Him to act in. He is God, you are not. Trust His timing and not your own. Emotions are a wonderful gift from God. God Himself is emotional, laughing, regretting, rejoicing. But I encourage you to act on Truth, not emotion. Our hearts are deceitful. Our anger does not work out God’s righteousness. I am not saying be emotionless, that would be an awful existence. I am saying be patient, don’t act on your emotions or you may do something you later regret. Remember, you have the power of destruction within you.
An arrow is like a book. Both are useless if not put into service. I am proud to have you in my quiver, but I have raised you to accomplish God’s purpose for and in your life. You have been mine, but you will always be His. We have come to a day, where I must say, Son, my son, it is time to start being a man. This is a process. This has to be a process because I need time as much as you do. I want to commit to you to give you room, room to succeed on your own and room to fail.
A few words on being a man. Men are not perfect. Ask any woman. We love to get things done. We break things, but because we are men, we fix them. Other people break things, but because we are men we fix those things, too. We don’t just want the bandage; we want to go to the heart of what is wrong and make it right. We thrive on clarity, facts, truth, justice and black and white.
We sometimes act before we think. We have to fight laziness. We commit before we consider. We are fragile, sometimes doing things because our heart aches and doing is the thing we know best for therapy. We have egos that we seek to have propped up and that can lead us to bad decisions.
We have to learn that sometimes the woman in our life doesn’t want things fixed. She wants something that is hard for us, to give our undivided attention and listen. As you develop into a mature man, do not neglect your heart. Sometimes it is easy for us to go through the fire, but hard for us to be still and know the He is God and we are not. You will have a struggle or maybe struggles as your relationship with God develops. You will have done everything you know to do and the problem is still there. At these points, all you can do is fully rely on God and let him guide you.
I almost fear to use David’s advice to Solomon. Not because David’s advice was poor, but because Solomon’s obedience was. I trust that you will be wiser than Solomon, so that I can give you the same advice, and you will excel far above Solomon.
Someday I will go the way of all the earth. You be strong and be a man. Obey the Lord your God’s charge to you, walk in His ways, keep His statutes and judgments and testimonies so that you might prosper in His service. (1 Kings 2:4, KJV)
Now you, my son Alan, know the God of your fathers and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of your thoughts: if you seek him, you will find Him, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off. Listen now, for the LORD has chosen you for a special work. Be strong and do it.
Things ended with the men in attendance gathered around praying blessings over my son, then his father presented him with a signet ring to mark the occasion.