Becoming A Man

Bible Book: 1 Kings  2 : 2
Subject: Manhood; Father's Day; Family
[Editor's Note: Dr. Steward shares an open letter with his on upon his son's graduation. This message reveals words of instruction to a son about becoming a man and about becoming an eventual father.]

“Seth Garrett Stewart.” As they called your name, my heart swelled with pride, but I braced myself for what I knew would be anything but a casual stroll across the stage. I wondered to myself, “Will he turn a cartwheel? Perhaps stage a fall? Maybe place a golf ball into the hand of each dignitary whose hand he shakes?” The place erupted in laughter when you did “the whip.” You have always had a unique knack for the unpredictable that has filled our home with laughter. Your entrance and exit from the stage was rather quick, but it was symbolic of how quickly this season of life has come and gone. How I wish I could have slowed down the pace and held on to a lot of wonderful moments in your life. However, the forward motion of your life has always been swift. You came into this world like a runaway freight train as your mom dilated from 2 cm to 10 cm in a matter of three minutes. You always raced to be the first one to turn in your tests in elementary school. You ran out of the car on your first day of high school because you “couldn’t wait” to get started. It would seem that your trademark has always been, “ready or not, here I come!” But, watching you prepare to cross the stage, for the first time in your life, there was a sense of hesitancy. The question was not, “Is the world ready for him?”, but rather “Is he ready for the world?”

Perhaps that is the question that David had in mind as he lay on his deathbed. David summoned his young son, Solomon, into the king’s chamber with the intent of handing him the baton of a throne and a kingdom. 1 Kings 2:2 records the charge David gave to Solomon, “...shew thyself a man.” This was not a command to shave the peach fuzz from his face, nor was it a challenge to get his chariot license. It was a call to rise up to responsible living. Life’s decisions would move from the playful and simple to the profound and serious. In the next ten years of your life, there will be thousands of decisions you will make. Many of them will be minor, but others will be very significant. Through those decisions, the course of direction for your life will be set and the resulting fruit will linger for many years. Clarity in your choices and accuracy at the crossroads will require having a different mindset.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul said it like this, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” This did not mean life no longer had fun, playful moments, but rather greater care and caution were necessary to navigate through the passageways of life. Growing up can be a difficult adjustment, but growing older does not have to be. If you will set your sails now for the man you want to be, God will always provide timely wind to lead you safely to the harbor of your desire. I want to encourage you on how to be that kind of man.

I. Always look to God.

In Hebrews 12:2, the writer declares a great secret to running life’s race confidently, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...” I will never forget the revival service in 2003 when, as a six year old boy, you came forward on your own, knelt at the altar and said, “Daddy, Jesus is talking to me.” Just as He spoke to you then, He will speak to you and guide you through every challenge and difficulty life could possibly throw your way.

The distinguishing mark that separates men from boys is wisdom. God is your greatest resource of wisdom and your strongest ally in times of uncertainty. He knows things about life that you have never experienced, and perceives dangers ahead you have never seen before. The more you look to God the more you will find confidence in your steps and certainty in your direction. The world is always willing to follow a man who is sure of where he is going.

II. Always stand behind your word.

In 1 Samuel 3:19, we’re told, “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” God fulfilled every prophetic utterance because Samuel said what he meant and he meant what he said. God will always stand with the man who stands behind his word.

There was a time when we said of men, “His word is his bond,” or “His handshake is as good as a contract.” However, the times have changed and so has the honor of men. Finish what you start and fulfill what you say. You will be amazed at the opportunities that will come to you simply by being trustworthy, dependable, and honest. Honoring your word is not always easy, but it is always right.

III. Always give your best.

In Ecclesiastes 9:10, Solomon would write, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might...” Your generation is coming onto the scene with a sense of entitlement. But, before you buy in to that philosophy, take it from a man who has already been a little farther down the road; life does not hand out trophies of success just because you show up. The old adage is true that anything worth having in life is worth working hard for. Those without a good work ethic become covetous and look for ways to take what others have worked hard to obtain. Take pride in whatever you do in life, and give an honest days labor for an honest days wage. It will earn the trust and confidence of others, but it will assure you the dignity of self-respect.

IV. Always own your failures and learn from them.

In 2 Samuel 24:10, we’re told, “And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done...” Such confessions made David “a man after God’s own heart.” I wish I could promise you that your life will never encounter failures and shortcomings. It is a part of our humanity. However, you will determine if such moments brand you or better you. Accepting the responsibility for your actions is critical for learning and moving forward with a stronger life. Those who point blame and offer excuses are more apt to repeat their offenses again. You will never stand taller as a man than when you keep a failure from becoming a lifelong pattern.

V. Always make your family a priority.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua declares, “ for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua understood that the greatest treasure God had given to him was that of his family. It is a treasure worth guarding and nurturing. Life will place many demands upon your time, but time spent with your family is never wasted time. Climbing the ladder of success should never take priority over little ones climbing into your lap. Your greatest investment into the next generation will not be financially, but rather your family. Give your children a man they can look up to, and your wife a man she can adore. You only get one shot at it, so make your shot count.


I still remember laying beside you and watching your first smile. I really have no idea what was in your mind, but it was an early reminder of the many smiles you were going to bring to my face. I see so much potential for your life, and there are qualities you possess that I wish I had for myself. God has graced you with a heart and personality that He intends to use in some special ways and in some special places. You are well on your way to becoming a wonderful man. When the final chapter of your story is written, I will see you walk across that grand stage and shall borrow these words and proudly say, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”