Editor’s note: Tim Brown was a star wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. He stood against the trials and temptations of life as a star athlete and came out the other side with his integrity intact. In his book and small group Bible study, The Making of a Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity, he shares his testimony and establishes several principles for what it takes to lead in the home and workplace as a godly man. We hope you enjoy watching this free session 1 introduction to the study.
The Making of a Man
How do you make a man?
You could say that I’ve been trying to answer that question all my life. Every young boy dreams about growing up and becoming his vision of a man. To a boy, a man is probably a leader and a hero. He might be an astronaut, a cowboy, a soldier, a firefighter, or yes, a football player. He might also be a husband and father.
When I was a boy, I imagined myself standing in a pulpit, delivering a stirring message as a preacher. That’s not every young boy’s idea of a man, but it was mine. But what is manhood, really? How do us guys get there – and how do we know when we’ve arrived?
Watch the Session 1 Video of The Making of a Man
Watch the video for session one. Use the outline provided to not any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
- Tim Brown made the transition from being a Heisman Trophy college star to playing in the NFL. A 97-yard kickoff return in his first game boosted his confidence – though he quickly discovered that the professional players he encountered were faster, stronger, and more talented than in college.
- After his first season, Tim was named to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner. When he returned home, his parents welcomed him with a big banner across the porch to congratulate him. However, his mother told him to leave the “big head” outside and just be “Timmy” when he got inside!
- We all have talents, but we need to use our skills and abilities for God’s glory, not our own.
- Jesus told a parable about a man who gave his three servants bags of gold to use in his absence. The first two used theirs well to increase their master’s wealth. The third one foolishly did nothing with the treasure entrusted to him. The point is clear: God wants us to use the talents He has given us and not hide them away.
- You may think God can’t use your abilities for Him, or you may not know what your God-given skills are. However, when you’re in tune with God, and are reading the Bible and praying, you’re in a position to get the answers you need.
- You may not have the talents others have, but that’s okay. Maybe you have the ability to listen well, or multitask, or find solutions to complex problems. God has entrusted you with those skills, and He wants you to use them for His glory.
Tim Brown points out that we men are on a journey to understand what we need to do to make ourselves into the men that God wants each of us to be. Our search for understanding manhood begins early in life. As boys, we received ideas from a variety of sources: television, movies, books, sports figures, and, of course, our dads. Sometimes, we learned what we didn’t want to become by watching men. Most of us can identify a man—in real-life or someone whom we learned about — who stood out, who impressed us, and whom we wanted to be like.
- Share with the group members a man who was a hero for you growing up. What was it about him that made him your hero?
- Without naming names, describe a bad example of manhood you encountered in your formative years. How has that man continued to affect you — for good or bad — even now?
- If someone was your hero, he no doubt had some skills or special abilities he used to make the world a better place. He may have only affected those in his immediate family, or he may have been famous and changed history. In addition, heroes are almost always men of exemplary character, not just talent. All of our abilities vary, but true heroes live with integrity, compassion, and a drive to make a difference. What is it about a person who has talent without character that makes him unworthy to emulate?
- Given that “bad” men do so much harm, what do you think fuels our society’s fascination with men who flaunt their destructive lifestyles and live with lax morals?
Because we are all human and made in God’s image, we all have a longing for fulfillment and to find a purpose that can carry us through the ups and downs of life. We all want love and respect and to be treated fairly by others. We all feel emotions: sadness when something valuable is lost; angry when we are blocked from some- thing we want; fearful when threatened; and happy when good things come our way. We also all have faculties of reason to help us solve problems and make good decisions. The same God who made us to have so much in common also made us to have differences. Other than twins, no two people have ever had the same genetic code; and even identical twins are never exactly alike in temperament, interests, and abilities. These differences among us don’t make one person better than another — in fact, quite the contrary, for they make us interdependent. When we recognize our differences as being God-given, it instills a sense of respect and of valuing one another.
- Read Psalm 139:13-14. When are you most likely not to respect yourself or others as “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God?
- Although you may feel like you are bragging as you answer this question, what God-given abilities do you possess that you feel responsible to use well?
Why is accurately knowing and faithfully using your God-given talents so important?
- Read Matthew 25:14-30. In the Parable of the Talents (mentioned by Tim in the video), the foolish servant did nothing productive with the money he was given. It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Why would someone do such a wasteful thing?
- The problem wasn’t that the man thought he could “get away with it” or that the master wouldn’t hold him accountable for making good investments. The real reason is quite different. What was the servant’s assessment of his boss? What kind of man and leader did the servant believe his master was?
- It’s obvious that the master represents God and the servants represent us and our varied responses to God. The foolish servant’s problem was not that he was lazy; it was that he didn’t believe his master had legitimate rights over him, nor did he believe he was just and worthy of loyalty. That being the case, how do you think a wrong view of what God is like—believing He is a tyrant and unreasonable — will affect a person’s fruitfulness and willingness to serve Him?
In what ways do you think your view of God affects how you use — or don’t use — your gifts? What makes a man a godly man? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear your comments!