“Intentionality”. This word continues to permeate many conversations I have been a part of over the last several weeks. Work, family, spiritual, health, relationships, “intentional” keeps showing up. Maybe it’s the season of life that I am in. Nearing the 60-year mark. Moving into the next stage of life. Or maybe it is the result of the people I am spending time with. Better relationships, conversations, and friendships; deeper, richer and filled with more joy. Maybe it’s the math behind Google; sending me the messages I would be most receptive to. Or maybe there is something deeper, something of greater importance, power, and permanence. Maybe it’s the collective cry of the heart of a lot of men today. A cry put there by the Holy Spirit. A cry to live more intentionally.
In an age where concentration and focus are measured in seconds; where a million things are being pushed towards us seemingly all the time. So much so that research is showing the human attention span less than that of a goldfish. Note: For fellow nerds, goldfish 9 seconds, human 8.
Distraction may be the norm and intentionality may be scarce, rarer is “purposeful intentionality”. As an example, it's likely your goal wasn’t to spend 27 minutes scanning Facebook this morning. It just sort of happened. The intention was to get ready for work, the activity was Facebook surfing. We allow, sometimes even welcoming, the distractions that fill the days. And depending on the emotions elicited by what was found on Facebook that morning, our outlook may be altered. Intentional choices? Neither physical or emotional.
For the last few years, we have been involved in a Men’s program based around 1:1 mentoring. It’s been a good season. Several men have found growth, some breakthroughs, and relationships were formed. As we enter a fresh new season, the desire is to be more intentional. A season of “purposeful intentionality”.
1 Corinthians 16:13 creates a perfect picture of both warning and desire. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong”. Now that’s intentional! An intentionality backed by a deep purpose. A purpose for which we were made. Followed by 16:14 “Do everything in love.” Few words. Deep and rich in meaning. We will unpack a bit of what this means for us collectively and individually, but for now, know that we cannot do this alone. We need the Holy Spirit AND we need each other.
Jesus never told the disciples to go “one-by-one”. He never sent them out alone and he certainly never suggested that they could, in any way, be and make disciples alone. It’s ludicrous even thinking that is possible. And yet… and yet, often we try to do just that. It's not our intent, but it can be what we try to do.
Recently I have been again drawn to the parable of the lost sheep. I have focused on the act of the shepherd finding his one. But I have missed how he shares the good news of the return of the one. How the one is celebrated. No, I read the words, but I missed my own brokenness. I found it easy to have pity on the poor sheep and even be happy about his return but what happens when it’s not a sheep. What happens when it’s the annoying neighbor, co-worker… family member. Yeah, no problem making a quick run down the pretty green hill in my mind for a cute little sheep. Far more problematic when it requires leaving my comfortable couch to intentionally go into the mess of the bushes and the thorns and even the darkness. Intentionality.
Intentionality comes from new eyes. It comes from a renewed heart. It comes from a loving Father. It comes with a burning desire; a firm commitment and a willingness not only to do certain things but to no longer do other things. Even if those things are “good”.
Summary: Men, we need one another. We need guys who will leave the pack and go after the lost, saved and unsaved. We need community. We need relationships. We need our hearts back. And we cannot do that alone. And most importantly, we need Christ at the center. At the center of our purposeful intentionality.
Call to action: If you sense God calling you to the deeper community, to stronger relationships, to locking arms with men who are going to run the good race with you until we all finish strong, come on out and join us.