I have spent the last couple of weeks stepping away from the work God has called me to in BYX. It is amazing what the Lord will do to refresh your heart, mind and body when honoring him in your times of rest. I spent some of that time reading through a late 1990’s book called “Raising a Modern Day Knight” by Robert Lewis. Some of you may know Robert Lewis as he is the founder of the Men’s Fraternity movement in some local churches. Lewis wrote this book expressing his journey in raising his sons to be men who love the Lord. Since I have two young sons of my own, I thought it would be an excellent read. In the book, there is a constant call to fathers to express to their sons how much they love them. The following story has stuck with me since I read it.
“My father was killed in World War II when I was three years old. I knew in my heart that he loved me; my mother told me that he loved me. But I always longed to hear it myself, from him. When my mother and stepfather retired and left Alaska years later, I came over one day to help them pack. Mom took an old photo of my father in his army uniform off her dresser and gave it to me. She said, here, this is for you. I know your father would have wanted you to have it. It was the same photo I had seen for many years. As I took the picture from her, I dropped it; the cheap metal frame hit the floor and broke, shattering the glass. Sick at heart, I reached down to salvage what was left of this family treasure. Behind the photo I found a letter, placed there 37 years before and long since forgotten. It was a letter from my father to his three-year-old son, the last letter he had written before he died. In it he said that he loved me and that he longed to come home and be with me. I had heard the words I needed to hear from a father who was long since dead.”
The glory of sons is their father.
I have met and interacted with brothers all over the country who do not have an earthly father in their life. Many of those men have stories of longing to hear the words in the story above. While no one can replace the words of your father, I have witnessed the Lord using BYX in the lives of many of those men. Brothers who have found other brothers and developed healthy male relationships. Brothers who they share life with in the great times and in extremely difficult times. Brothers who have developed a life-long kinship that is rooted deep in their shared faith in Jesus Christ.
College is an experience that is largely outside of the “parental” influence. It is a time when young men make foundational decisions that guide the rest of their life. BYX is a fraternity that I believe takes in young men and molds them to be mature men ready to leave the college experience for the responsibility of Godly manhood. There are the commitments involved in pledgeship that require time, energy and effort that lead to a formal initiation into the fraternity. There are bonds through shared experiences of retreats, cell groups, service and social events. There are challenges with school and relationships. There are honorable celebrations with elections and graduations. All are designed to grow and mature young Christian men.