Yesterday, I spent the evening watching an animated movie I enjoyed as a young adult man. The movie was “The Prince of Egypt”. The movie came out 22 years ago when I was 24 years of age. It’s a timeless movie. A movie for the ages. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to do so.
The movie is about the life of Moses: his childbirth, living in pharaoh’s palace, his killing of an Egyptian man, meeting his wife Zipporah, meeting his father-in-law Jethro, living in the desert, sheep herding, experiencing God in the burning bush, and his triumphant exodus leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt. The movie is far from being biblically accurate, but the theme of the movie does a decent job giving the viewers a small glimpse of Moses’s life as a young man living in Pharaoh’s courts with privilege and power and the shift that takes place when learning about identity, adulthood, manhood and leadership. I’m so glad I took time to revisit the movie because there were a few key areas that really spoke to me as a man.
As I watched the movie I began to reflect on my life at the age of 24. My reflection caused me to ask questions such as “what was I doing at the age of 24?”. “What was going on in my life at the age of 24?”. And “what were my feelings at the age of 24?”. As I thought about these questions, I began to feel an appreciation of how far I’ve come in 20 years in seeing my life from a different set of eyes. A different set of eyes do to my own journey as a man and experiencing a few wilderness experiences of my own.
When I was 24 years of age, I was three years out of college. I was already married for 2 years raising my firstborn while my wife was pregnant with our second child. My occupation during this time was a full-time high school teacher at my alma mater Maranatha High School. It was also during this time that I was a cross country, basketball and track & field coach. In addition to being a new husband, new father, and taking on responsibilities as a teacher and coach, I was also going to school full time in pursuit of my Master’s degree. To say it nicely, life was not fun. It was difficult, overwhelming, and extremely tiresome. I was on the grind trying to manage life as best as I could, while also trying to get ahead financially because that’s what a good, respectable and hard working man, husband and father does, right? It was the first time in my life that I didn’t experience peace and joy in my life as a young adult man and I knew that something had to change. Eventually that “something” did change and you can read about it here, but prior to experiencing God on a different level, life was difficult and I wasn’t sure if I could live up to my own expectations for myself and culture around me.
In the Prince of Egypt movie, there is a 4-minute stretch that spoke to me yesterday that I want to share with you. This 4-minute stretch helps us see our lives as men differently if we allow it to. Why does it speak to me? Because often times as men, we believe that our identity, value and manhood is wrapped up in our jobs and our ability to make money. Don’t get me wrong, our jobs and ability to make money are important things to have and accomplish for sure, but is your brand, identity and manhood solely made-up of these things or is there something more? I believe you were created for so much more than you realize. More than the uncomfortable situation you are experiencing today because of lack in your life. God didn’t make you so that you would be employable, find a job, work and make money. He made you so that you may know Him, love Him, live with Him, and glorify Him. He wants to be in relationship and partnership with you. You must understand that with God’s help, the man you are today is not the man you will be tomorrow. The man I was 24 years ago is not the man I am today. We grow and mature in time. We are His creation and His Spirit lives within us. Not only does His Spirit live within us, but so does His breath of life. Think about it, you and I wouldn’t be living today if it wasn’t God’s own breath breathing life into your frame. His very breath is what sustains your ability to do what you do; and that includes work or not work. Praise God for that.
Here’s another thing to think about. As men we often have a tendency to put our abilities, our jobs, people, and money on pedestals. Anything we put on a pedestal has the potential to become an idol in your life. An idol is anything that takes your eyes off God. An idol is the very thing that replaces God in our life. What are your idols today that have no true power or authority in your life that need to be smashed and buried?
Moses knew much about serving idols under the dominion of Pharaoh. He knew about the Egyptian gods and no doubt worshipped them. But in due-season, at the proper time, and in an instant by God’s sovereign hand, Moses’s life changed when he encountered the one and only true God that called him by name when he encountered the bush that wasn’t consumed by fire. God told Moses that He is “I AM WHO I AM”. In my feeble attempt to simplify the magnitude of God’s name will not do God justice, but what God is saying to Moses and He is saying to us is that God is the source of everything. He is everything we need and everything our heart truly desires. When we decide to truly see Him for who He is, our knowledge, fellowship and rest in Him becomes sweeter than anything we can ever desire outside of Him. That’s the kind of God we serve. That’s the kind of God I serve.
As men, we need to have the right perspective of our life. We need to look at our life through heavens eyes. We need to look at our life through a lens of eternity and not through a lens of our own expectations or the expectations of culture and others.
In this YouTube video below, listen to the sounds and words of this beautifully crafted song. For it was created and meant for you in this season of your life and for the rest of your life.
Remember to look at your life through heavens eyes.