“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” C.S. Lewis
Lest we misunderstand the quote, Lewis was not speaking of a loss of the chest thumping masculine virility in men but, taken in the context of his treatise, The Abolition of Man, was lamenting that society has, by virtue of its values, stripped men of their heart.
It is the heart that the Bible speaks the most of. There is a total of 31,102 verses in the Bible; and 24,232 of them mention the heart. That means 77% of the Bible deals with the heart! In conversation over the demise of King Saul, God speaks to the prophet Samuel, “…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
God rejected Saul and raised up David because of the condition of their hearts. There was something virtuous in David’s heart that God noticed. David lived and loved from a whole heart.
Our hearts were formed for God. The totality of our being is framed by the convictions of our heart. Jesus described the ultimate purpose of our existence as “loving God with all of our heart.” (Matthew 22:37). Men without chests are men with no heart, men with no passion.
Last week was our bi-annual “Wholeheart Advance” for men. We call it “Wholeheart Advance” because that’s the goal, to advance men into their wholehearted calling. Every man will be challenged to live from the virtue of wholehearted devotion to Christ and each other. We are not building geldings, but stallions. We are not building chestless men, but men who live out of their whole heart.
It’s no easy task, building men with hearts aflame. It’s no easy task to build men who have virtue and honor. It’s not only that society, schools, and parents rarely teach such things, but it’s never been easy in any culture. It is counter cultural to tell men that their life has been stolen away because their hearts are dead.
Our team and I have been called to build “men without chests” into wholehearted men. Quite a challenge. But to see men come alive as they break out of their shame makes it all worthwhile.