“This book is for everyone, but in writing a book about these seven men, I’ve thought that young men especially need role models. If we can’t point to anyone in history or in our culture whom they should emulate, then they will emulate whomever.”
These seven short biographies of men of great faith and well lived lives displays the very dynamic religion that is Christianity. While they all held to the same faith, they lived it out in different ways, depending on their life circumstances. 7 Men displays a welcome contradiction to a modern understanding of Christianity. While some believe that following Jesus is a religion that some find to be too constricting and difficult to live out, each one of these men displayed in their own unique circumstances and life times what following Jesus truly meant. Following Jesus; living a life modelled after Him, may not be an easy life, but as Eric Metaxas shows, it is the most rewarding and greatest thing that any man or woman can do with their lives.
Metaxas doesn’t believe that there are only seven men who have lived lives that are worth emulating. Rather he picked seven individuals that the audience may know, although their whole stories and what made them great may remain a mystery. It is here in 7 Men And The Secret of Their Greatness that Metaxas reveals the simple but earth shaking qualities of men that helped shape our world.
In no order of importance or significance, Metaxas explores George Washington, and how he resisted the temptation to become the first king of America. Across the ocean, around the same time, William Wilberforce gave up the chance to be the Prime Minister of England. Why did they refuse that opportunity?
The 7 Men are not simply political figures, because faith in Christ is not limited to certain occupations or roles in society. Famous athletes like Eric Liddell and Jackie Robinson made the cut. But what was it that compelled Robinson to endure the racism while he played baseball? And what was Liddell thinking when he refused to run for the Olympic gold?
One would be foolish to assume that a life within the leadership of Christianity is one without struggle and difficulty. Metaxas invites the reader to ponder why Dietrich Bonhoeffer jeopardized his freedom, safety, and life to defy the violent power of the Nazis. One is also left to question, how a man, commonly known as Pope John Paul II, could rise to such a position with a smile on his face, when his life prior was nothing but loss and destruction?
Metaxas even includes the powerful story of a man that was connected to the greatest scandal of American history, the Watergate Scandal, and how he rose above his past sins and mistakes to discover a divine calling that reshaped America. How did Chuck Colson do this?
Though these men may not seem to have much in common, they are all shining examples of Christ like men, leading lives in a difficult world. Eric Metaxas unveils the mystery as to how these 7 Men did this, how they stop up the the temptations and trials, and how we can do the same.
I normally start every review with a quote from the book, hopefully giving the reader an idea or a notion about the gem that I am recommending they read. The problem is, and the reason that I don’t have one here is, I can’t pick one. I have found several different quotes, from each of the 7 Men’s lives that are worth sharing. No one is more important than the other, because all of them illustrate and encourage the reader in a unique way.
The way that Eric Metaxas walks the reader through each man’s life, it leaves the reader with a very real sense that these larger than life men were in fact human. The reader is left in awe and amazement at the humility and sacrifice that George Washington made, and then further floored when one realizes that this life is one that is attainable by men and women now. When I read through the seven different accounts I was astounded that I had not heard these stories or the whole story, like that of Eric Liddell.
I was not much of a biography reader before, often feeling bogged down by all the details, names, and dates. Upon reading 7 Men, I realized that I have been missing amazing stories and deep truths experienced in the world I live in. Eric Metaxas has turned my opinion of biographies around and won a reader of anything that he writes.
What Metaxas set out to do, to give young men someone to look up to, to emulate, he has accomplished with flying colours. Men like Washington that have been painted with a checkered past are not glorified but shown as the complex human being that he was. And that even in the mess of birthing a nation and a war, man can still honour and glorify God. Even in the face of pure evil, mankind can do what is right as Bonhoeffer did. Though we may have every right to stand up and fight, though we have every right to exercise our gifts and talents, men like Robinson and Liddell show us that the way of honouring God is a far better and more rewarding way to live. Young men do have heroes to emulate. Hopefully they will rise to the challenge.
One can only hope that this is not a solitary book, but one of many volumes yet to come, as there are so many other uplifting and encouraging stories left to be shared. While Metaxas does not say anything about it, upon reading this you will want more. Eric Metaxas does include an excerpt for his upcoming book, 7 Women, so one would be ignorant to assume that there are only men worthy of emulation, or that Metaxas is ignoring the great women of the Christian faith.
I give 7 Men And The Secret Of Their Greatness a 5 out of 5 stars. This was an entertaining and educational look at heroes of our faith in the modern age. Young and old will enjoy this book immensely.
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