I often encourage pastors to consider investing strategically in men by identifying a man in their church who lives and leads in an exemplary way. You know, the man who every other man looks at and says,
“I want a marriage like that!”
“I want to see my children turn out like his!”
“I want to have an impact like him!”
I ask pastors to prayerfully identify this man in their church then meet with him to do two things. First, release him from every church obligation except one. And second, commission him for that one task, “Reproduce your life, marriage and leadership in the lives of other men.”
Recently, Stacy and I were privileged to attend Harry Hanger’s 65th birthday party. He’s an example of a man who has done just this. What a humbling blessing it was to hear friends, co-workers, small group buddies, and finally his children and wife stand to offer tribute to a godly man.
Each individual who rose to speak (some had known Harry for over 40 years!) spoke of Harry’s love for Jesus, his devotion to Bible study, his wisdom, wit, faith and devotion to wife and family. I was encouraged, delighted, challenged and frustrated.
It was a blessing to hear the testimonies of the impact Harry’s life and ministry had on so many. It was frustrating to know that Lou Gehrig’s disease is all too quickly consuming Harry’s abilities. Harry enjoyed the party from his electric wheelchair that he didn’t need last year. He offered comments and held conversations using a speaking assistance device that he didn’t need just a few months ago.
What once were nimble fingers now labor to turn the pages of a well-worn bible and type notes for the Tuesday morning men’s Bible study that he has led for over 20 years and continues to lead even though it is a struggle.
Harry’s blessed and beautiful wife, Elaine, helps him get up early on Tuesday mornings and get dressed then drives him to lead the Bible study where he continues to teach other men of the goodness and greatness of our God.
I’ve only known Harry and Elaine for a few years. It didn’t take long for Stacy and I to appreciate their lives, their family and their commitment to Christ. They became friends and supporters of Noble Warriors and our family because they agree with the mission of Noble Warriors.
Godly men make a difference everywhere. Because Christ lives in him, Harry has surely made a difference in every arena. With amazing humility and great joy Harry delighted in time spent with friends and family at his birthday party. I’m convinced that it was a special treat to him from our Lord who has likewise delighted in a man who has chosen to walk with Him and lead well.
Pray with me that Harry’s investments in other men will be multiplied many times over! Harry Hanger is a true Noble Warrior!