January 25, 2016
“Hold steady! We’re almost there!” I yelled between breaths. “Hold the pace!”
We could hear the steps crackle on the ice behind us as we approached the finish line in the endurance race. Sharp pains shot through my left leg, after being exhausted in a previous race, but we couldn’t slow down. The other teams were closing in.
“Hold the pace!”
Our team couldn’t finish with a sprint, so we had to hold our pace, not knowing if it would be enough.
In teams of three, we ran across a frozen lake, staying an arms length away from our teammates, lest we be disqualified.
It was a Gladiator moment. Like the moment Maximus pulls the team together in the Coliseum against the chariots to defeat the enemy.
We ran as one and held the pace.
We finished strong and reaped the victory … for that element anyway.
Earlier that day, all the men at BGU started their first full day in the Men’s Retreat with Man Wars. A series of masculine competitions that were challenging, adventurous, and fun.
But, they were more than games.
They were training grounds for teamwork.
Iron Sharpens Iron
Men are stronger together and it’s in team based competitions that we were reminded that together we can run farther, push harder, and be more creative than if we were going it alone.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” —Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
In Man Wars, we won and lost as a team.
It’s a lesson we would do well to take with us onto the mission field. Where the enemy is real, the the obstacles are significant, and the prize is glorious.
It Takes Guts To Work Together
While many obstacles may be external, all men will recognize that the real dangers lie within. As men, our greatest enemy can be our pride. We buy into the lie that we must appear strong, but Paul tells us:
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —1 Corinthians 12:10
All men have them.
The only way to overcome them is by God’s grace and the help of our brothers around us. During the Men’s Retreat, we spent time being vulnerable with each other, admitting our weaknesses, worries, doubts, sins, and fears.
It takes guts to be vulnerable, but vulnerability is where the real work of sharpening each other begins.
Giving God Glory
There is something I love about men’s retreats, that is hard to explain.
It’s the worship.
It is a feeling that goes beyond my comprehension. When men worship together and sing, it’s as if we are touching the same wave length as the Father’s heart, even if for just a short moment. That is the best description I can muster of what it feels like to worship God with a group of men.
(I’m not sure if woman feel similarly when they sing with just woman. Would love to hear from any ladies in the comment section below with any thoughts on this.)
There you have it: iron, guts, and glory.
This was the anthem of the BGU Men’s Retreat and, with God’s grace, an anthem we can march to as we go overseas to take the church to where it is not.
Thanks, to Logan, for throwing this awesome video together and to Paul for the photos below.