In a day of wussified Men’s groups, one has to think, “there’s gotta be more than this.” Certainly meeting together has its perks and benefits, but meeting together in the right way and for the right purpose can have a resounding impact on our culture for decades to come. We as men must learn to follow the example of great men who went before, even great men who are sitting in the pews beside us. For this reason I would highly recommend that men everywhere get their hands on Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
Eric Metaxas, through short biographical sketches, introduces us to Seven men who not only changed their circumstances but made impacts that would echo on to the distant future. Here we have a personal entrance into George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson. At first glance you may take the list and wonder why one name seems out-of-place. I was thinking the same exact thing before I actually got to the section on Jackie Robinson.
You may know Jackie Robinson for his tumultuous entry into the MLB as the first African-American to shatter the color barrier when he accepted a spot on the all-white roster of the Brooklyn Dodgers. What you may know less about, and most likely nothing, is his character off the field. He was a dedicated father who wanted to spend more time at home as a role model to his family. At the end of his career he is noted as saying, “I’ll miss the excitement of baseball, but now I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.”
In addition to being a family man, he also cared for the poor and started a construction company dedicated to providing housing to low-income families. He regularly visited children in the hospital and was found feeding the poor. He went on to become the first black analyst of ABC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week and served as a board member of the newly created NAACP. To find out how Jackie became involved with these endeavours and others you’ll have to pick up a copy for yourself.
One of my favorite scenes from a movie has to be the scene of British men running on the beach, water spraying everywhere while the familiar classical piece plays in the background. Chariots of Fire captures the life of Eric Liddell well but leaves out the portion of what happens after running. It’s spectacular to read of his life off the track and how he sacrificed his life for God in a country not his own. I won’t spoil all the details here but you may find this section of the volume especially uplifting.
Overall I came away from this volume with a feeling of wanting to be like the men who Metaxas writes about. These ordinary men with extraordinary dreams and certainly an extraordinary God, were able to rise above their circumstances and create ripples still felt today. We need more of that from both Men and Women today.