God, Give Us Men!

Recently I have been contemplating the poem “God, give us men!” by Josiah Gilbert Holland.

GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

It is election year, and that means everywhere you turn there are people telling you what this country needs and who is the person to give it. The “who” I will not say at this time. The what is leadership. The what is a servants heart. The what is “Men.”

What do I mean by “Men.” I intend no sexist implications in the use of my words. Rather I use the term “men” as juxtaposed to mice. These truths apply to all human kind. So what are “Men?” They are those who will stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone. They are those who are not for sale or out for their own gain. They are those who possess their own convictions and are not swayed by public opinion. They are those who place the needs of others ahead of their own. They are those of integrity, who live their life the same in the public eye and their private refuge.

It is a sorry thing, when we look at the world around us and question if such men exist. But before we look to the world, we need to look in the mirror. How do we live our lives? Are we seeking our own, or are we standing for what is right? Do we go with the crowd, or do we follow our convictions? Are we the same when we are alone as we are when with others? How can we expect to find what we are looking for in the world, when we cannot find it in ourselves? Where do we find these “men”? They must come from us.

But we human beings are a selfish lot. It is our nature to seek our own. It is our nature to follow the easy path and simply fit in. If this is the case, then how do we find the “men” our country needs. How do we find the “men” that Holland calls for?

Holland has said it from the very beginning: “GOD, give us men!” It is God alone who can raise up men from such selfish, lazy people. Alone, we are lost, but with God, as the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, we can say “I can do all things through Him who give me strength.”

Who are these “men?” They are men of God. A fact not lost on the founding fathers. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” It is through God alone that we can set ourselves to the side and seek what is best for others.

I must agree with the words of John Adams, and have often said that the entire success of a democratic republic is based on Philippians 2:4 ” Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Only when people place others before themselves can democracy work. When “men” begin to look first to themselves, if not only to thenselves, democracy will fail.

So in my prayer that I cry out is for God to raise up “men”. Men of God, who seek not their own interest, but the interest others. Men whose strength is found in God alone. Men who humbly follow God wherever He may lead.

GOD, give us men!

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