by Dr. Joe Martin
Real men don’t isolate, they evaluate, collaborate, and integrate.
Ecclesiates 4:9,10 says, “Two are better than one, because there is better return on their labor. If either one of them falls, the other is there to lift him up. But pity the man who falls, and there’s no one there to help him up.”
What a powerful verse from the Word of God. When it comes to men working together, we often hear Prov. 27:17 quoted: “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.”
But to me, Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 is even more powerful. Because iron sharpening iron speaks to the essence of men making each other better than what they are individually. But Ecclesiastes 4 speaks to men helping each other get better when they’re “burdened.”
It says, “If either man falls, the other is there to help him up.”
My question to you is: “Who do you have to help you up when you fall?” I’m not talking about sharpening, I’m talking about supporting you, strengthening you, or even serving you, when you’re unable to serve, strengthen, and support anyone else (including yourself)?
I recently spoke at a men’s Iron Sharpen Iron Conference, in which I mentioned that every man not only needs a team (of men around him), he also needs a group of teammates in his huddle (at least 5) who he meets with every week; men who he can be totally honest, transparent, and vulnerable with, without fear. Because a man is only as strong as the number of stronger godly men he has in his life.
But most men know the importance of having what I call “foxhole friends” on their team, they’re just not sure WHAT to look for in a teammate. So here are four things you should look for in a strong, bonafide, godly teammate.
Understand, this is MY standard for selecting and recruiting teammates; it doesn’t necessarily have to be yours. But the point I’m trying to make is that you should at least have a standard. And I believe these (4) standards are a good place to start in looking for a teammate:
First, I look for a man who I can count on to hold me accountable to the kind of man who God called and created me to be. And he’s not afraid to call me out on it if I don’t.
This man feels confident and secure enough in his relationship with me to confront and challenge me whenever he sees me misrepresenting Christ.
The second thing I’m looking for in a teammate is a man who’s willing to fight for me and the things that are most important to me: my marriage, my family, my relationships, my dreams, and my destiny.
For example, if I was going through marital problems, and maybe I was on the brink of divorce, I want a teammate who’s willing to fight for my marriage and my family as if it was his own. Even when I feel like giving up on what’s important to me, he won’t give up on me.
The third thing I’m looking for in a teammate is a man who I can share my deepest secrets (mistakes), struggles, and scars (wounds) with. So even when he sees me at my worst, he won’t lose respect for me. In other words, he will love me the most, even when I deserve it the least.
And finally, the fourth thing I’m looking for in a teammate is someone who I feel I can trust to protect, take care, and watch over my family if anything ever happened to me.
When it comes your selection process, you can choose to raise or lower your bar; but you better have one.
The point is, no man can do life alone. Because even the Lone Ranger had Tanto. And Jesus, who was perfect had 12 men on his team and three men in his huddle. And none of them were as perfect as Jesus; in fact, one even betrayed him. But it didn’t stop Jesus from having a team, so don’t let it stop you.
Because real men don’t isolate (i.e., avoid relationships with other men), but rather they evaluate (the men they see); then they collaborate (by interacting with men to see who they can trust), and then they integrate (the best of those men) into their lives and into their huddle). So, go and recruit your teammates today.
Dr. Joe Martin is an award-winning conference speaker, author, men’s ministry leader, and certified “man builder.” He’s authored or co-authored nine books, including Are You the Man: 201 Lessons I Wish My Dad Would’ve Taught Me; The Real Man Spiritual Leader Blueprint; and Gifts & Handkerchiefs: A Lesson in Servant Leadership. He’s also the host of “Real Men Connect,” the #1-rated radio podcast on iTunes for Christian men. To find out more about his remarkable story of redemption from abject poverty, abandonment, abuse, and addiction, visit him on the web at www.RealMenConnect.com