I’ve been to a few men’s retreats in my life. (The ladies are so intolerant when I try to sign up for theirs.) I recall one men’s retreat in particular. We were well into the retreat when a contingent of men shared their disappointment about the theme and lessons presented by the speakers. The theme was fairly mainstream for a group of Christian men, so I was a bit surprised by their discontent. Granted, the speakers encouraged men to confront some of their deepest emotional injuries and disappointments in order for the Lord to bring healing (an endeavor akin to asking ladies at a women’s retreat to participate in bare-skin paintball battles).
After decades in the church ecosystem, I have learned many things. Here is one definitely worth sharing: not every sermon, men’s retreat theme, conference speaker, Bible study lesson, worship song or worship team will move me spiritually, speak to me in a profound way, or have anything to do with me. It is OK to feel a little disappointed when this happens. But simply put, sometimes the message is from God to others and our role is that of a witness to support and affirm what God is doing in the lives of the people for whom the message is meant. When we are able to do this, I believe it is a milestone in our journey of maturity in the faith. Oddly enough, I receive a blessing when I accept that the message is not for me and I pray for and encourage those to whom God is speaking.