Great Men and Great Friends
In The Masculine Mandate: God's Calling to Men, author Richard Phillips shows us that often behind great a man in history is a humble friend who speaks truth and encouragement into his struggles that helped make that man great. Phillips writes:
"There are two statues in Washington D.C. that together tell a remarkable story. One is the massive memorial to General Ulysses S. Grant that stands at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, literally in the morning shadow of the U. S. Capitol building. Visitors can hardly miss this majestic depiction of the legendary general atop his war stallion. Grant's military leadership was decisive to the Union's victory in the Civil War, and he is considered a symbol of the force of human will, an icon of the strong man who stands against the storm when all others have shrunk back." "Some two-and-a-half miles away, in a pleasant but nondescript city park, stands a more commonplace memorial. The statue of this lesser-known Civil War figure, Major General John Rawlins, has actually had eight different locations and is hardly ever noticed by visitors. Rawlins had been a lawyer in Galena, Illinois, where Grant lived just prior to the war, and he became Grant's chief of staff. Rawlins knew Grant's character flaws, especially his weakness for alcohol. At the beginning of the war, Rawlins extracted a pledge from Grant to abstain from drunkenness, and when the general threatened to fall away from that promise, his friend would plead with him and support him until Grant could get back on track. In many ways, it was Rawlins who stood beside the seemingly solitary figure of Grant the great general. Rawlins' memorial is modest compared to the mounted glory afforded Grant, yet without his unheralded love and support, Grant would hardly have managed even to climb into the saddle."
You don't have to be famous to need a friend who'll be there with you and for you no matter what. He knows and appreciates how God has wired you and the gifts He's given you for the good works He's prepared for you in advance to do. He also knows your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He'll watch your back and tell you the hard truth when you need to hear it. Do you have a General John Rawlins in your life to help keep you in the saddle? Are you a General John Rawlins in another man's life, or can you be? Wars, whether the physical battles of history or the spiritual battles that never cease, are not fought alone but in the company of men who care for their buddies with grace and truth.