Men, Go Deep


Few plays in sports capture more excitement than a QB rearing back on his heels to launch a long bomb to a receiver deep downfield. The football hangs in the air, taunting fans, and raising adrenaline levels all over the stadium. Everything depends on what happens next.

Many of us men will recall days of backyard football, where we barked out plays in small huddles. Some of those plays were complex and needed a Ph.D. in neighborhood sports to decipher. Inevitably, though, one of those plays consisted of telling the fastest guy, “You go deep.”

We need deep. We need someone who is out there in case all else fails. When no other options exist, you can count on that one guy in the next Zip code, the one you sent deep, to save the day.

“Men, go deep.”

If I have a word for this year, it’s that.

What I say here isn’t specifically in the Bible, so you can take it for what it’s worth, but I think God made men to be deep. Deeper than women.

God gave women the gift of breadth. They have a social gifting that pulls in people from all realms and crosses social boundaries more easily. They are the roots of the tree that spread out to the dripline to capture the rain and find nourishment.

But God gives men the gift of depth, of being the taproot of the tree, the anchor, the leading edge, the part that goes where other parts don’t, that explores the boundaries yet holds it all fast. Being deep means you dwell in many places alone and unaccompanied. God alone can see you. God alone knows and understands your function.

I believe with all my heart that the combined social and theological crisis of our generation is a lack of men who are deep. Deeply rooted in God. Deeply committed to truth. Deeply in love with their Savior and not with anything or anyone else. Men who are deep because of their devotion to the only One who matters.

Men, go deep.

I say all this because it is my experience in this life. While I have met a few deep women, they are of a different quality than the deep men I have known. And those deep men are an increasing rarity.

Feminism hurt men more than we know. Whatever women gained by the feminist movement, men lost in kind. It was not a win-win. And when men don’t win, women don’t either. I think many feminists of those early days of the movement would look around today and wonder what happened to men.

Men don’t have any heroes anymore beyond fictional ones. Why are comic book superheroes our transcendent role models today? Because real men aren’t.

One could argue that younger men today manage successfully to dwell in the shadow of the full bloom of feminism’s flower, yet one could argue equally that young men today have responded by retreating into infantalism, stuck in the mode of Peter Pan, dealing with our cultural and societal experiment by forever staying 12 years old. Forever shying away from digging down.

But men go deep.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in human history when the clarion call for men has been more clear and loud. God calls for men to go deep in Him.

The challenge for men who heed that call is that no aspect of our culture or society supports depth. All of it, every shred, caters to shallowness. All of it is arrayed against God. Every little bit.

Men who go deep will have no support. Not from other men. Not from their wives. Not from their children. No one will understand the man who goes deep–except God.

If we want to point a finger at our churches and ask why there is no power, no revelation, no vision, no transcendence, no fire at all, it’s because of a dearth of deep men. Period. You can stop right there, because that’s the answer for almost everything that ails us.

Prostrate before GodYou can’t fake deep. You can’t look in the eyes of a shallow man and find wisdom, only in the eyes of the deep. And there are fewer men with that piercing, penetrating depth today, so good luck finding them.

Instead, you be that man. Go deep.

God holds out His hands to any man who will pull himself away from myriad distractions that hinder to instead find respite in the Him and go deep. You can’t buy depth. It comes only from intimate time spent with God away from the rest of the world. It means turning back to God every moment of every day. Again and again. It means having zero confidence in oneself, none, but taking it all back to God and operating out of His Spirit’s empowering alone. No substitute exists.

Men today want to be inoffensive, liked, entertained, in control, and successful by the world’s standards. Theirs is a wide, well-trod path.

The man who goes deep into God will be misunderstood, chastised, and even hated. Often by people who should instead be supporting his desire for God and the deep places God alone can take him. We used to have men like that. Used to.

Such men are our only hope.

Because the clock has wound down. It’s fourth and 25. Without a man open way downfield, there will be little chance for victory.

“Men, go deep.”

A Tale of Two Messengers


A messenger service hired Rob and Rich, two good friends who had a much in common in life. The messenger service was peerless, and Rob and Rich both realized how blessed they were to have new positions with the company.

What made the messenger service so successful was its training. The corporate guide the company president created was lauded in the industry. In addition, the company president outfitted each worker with the best tools available, ones he had perfected himself, and workers who fully embraced the guide, training, and tools became the best messengers in the world.

In time, both Rob and Rich ascended to the top of their class during their training. Rob, in particular, was enthralled by the corporate guide and prided himself on the fact that he had memorized it. Rich also knew the guide well.

The day came for graduation and their first courier assignment. Rob and Rich’s supervisor called them both into his office.

“Rob, I need you to go to 717 Sycamore Street and deliver these architectural blueprints for the new elementary school to Mr. Zacchaeus at Jonas Brothers & Associates,” the supervisor said.

Rob stood in place whispering to himself.

“Rob,” the supervisor said, “son, did you hear me?”

The whispering continued, so the supervisor went over to the newly charged messenger and repeated his instructions. Nothing.  Unnerved, he bent closer to hear what Rob was whispering to himself. The words were well known to the supervisor: the step by step instructions of the corporate guide.

“Son?” the supervisor asked.

No reply.

Frustrated, the supervisor turned to Rich and said, “What’s with your friend?”

Rich turned to Rob and said, “Hey, Rob, we’re getting our instructions. Pay attention.”

“Everything I need to know to do my job is in the corporate guide,” Rob answered, as if waking up.

“Yes, it can fully equip you to be a fantastic messenger,” Rich acknowledged.

“‘A good messenger never diverts from the optimum path to delivery,’ Entry 172a,” Rob replied.

“That’s true,” Rich said, “but our supervisor is trying to tell you where that delivery goes.”

“He is? Where?”

“717 Sycamore Street,  blueprints for the new elementary school, Mr. Zacchaeus at Jonas Brothers & Associates,” Rich said.

Rob went back to whispering entries from the guide.

“Rob?” Rich asked.

“There’s no entry for that in the guide,” Rob said, exasperation creeping into his voice.

Rich replied, “But we can’t do our job if we don’t take the rules of the guide and use them together with with what our supervisor tells us.”

“How do we know we can trust him?” Rob asked.

“He represents the company president—”

“—and I wrote the guide together with him and with his son,” the supervisor said. “Can’t you recognize that voice of authority? Now, do you want to hear me out on this specific job or not?”

Once again, Rob went back to reciting the guide as if the supervisor were not present. “‘Treat each recipient with respect,’ Entry 202d. ‘Always maintain a smiling face and extend your hand warmly to whomever greets you,’ Entry 202e.”

The supervisor turned to Rich. “You got my instructions, son?”

“Yes, sir, Jonas Brothers.”

“Good. Thank you for listening. Make me proud.”

It was said on that day that no one delivered a package more effectively than Rich did those blueprints. In the course of his time with the company, he received numerous Employee of the Month honors, became the personal assistant to the supervisor, and received the most generous retirement in the company’s history.

Of Rob it was said that he gave excellent tours of the company headquarters. And no one could stump him on the contents of the corporate guide. But he never made a single delivery.