Let me tell you about my heroes. The first is James Brown. No, I'm not talking about James Brown the singer, although when the mood is right and "Papas Got a Brand New Bag" is playing, I can really "Shake Em Down."
No, I'm talking about James Brown the vice president of a bank in Huntsville, Ala., father of two, and proud owner of 7801 Fair Circle. Every morning he gets up, gives his wife a kiss good-bye, and faithfully goes to his office managing the tasks set before him with duty in his heart, skill in his hand, and a smile on his face.
James Brown has never climbed Mt. Everest, he has never won a Super Bowl ring, and he has never raced the No. 20 car at Talladega. James Brown hasn't done a lot of the things that usually make people heroes, but he is a hero to me.
Another one of my heroes is Calvin Blevins. Now Calvin, much like James, has never climbed a mountain (not unless you count Stone Mountain.) Just like James, he is the father of two, and in fact owns a home just a few miles south of the Brown residence in Huntsville.
Every morning he wakes up, kisses his wife goodbye, and faithfully goes off to work. Then every afternoon he comes home, makes sure everything in the neighborhood in check, and proudly talks with his wife about their two lovely daughters.
How about my own father John Dees? He has been a pastor in Huntsville for 18 years now. He has never written a book, he has never had a web page, and if we have to be honest, he has never even had an e-mail account.
But everyday he wakes up, kisses my mother (Sweet Nancy), and faithfully ministers to his congregation.
Pain after pain, joy after joy, day after day. These men are my heroes. When I think about the kind of man I want to become, they are who I think of.
I read a lot of books for young men; books that are full of adventure, and mountains, and rivers, and big blue skies; books that encourage you to dream big and then leave everything behind to chase those dreams; books that encourage you to buck traditionalism and be your own man.
Now, these books are fun and exciting and have some great things to say about being a man. But, these books are written by a bunch of young guys with soul-patches and $30-a-week Starbucks bills.
For me, the most important lesson that I learned about being a man, I didn't learn in any of these books, and that is the value of faithfulness. I learned it by watching James, Calvin, and John. I have watched them understand the responsibilities and gifts God has given and faithfully stick to them. I have seen them be faithful to their jobs, their families, and their communities.
You ask what the world needs? You ask what God desires from a man? One word -- faithfulness. That is the true mark of a man, and I have been so blessed to have that modeled to me every day of my life -- by my heroes.
Jason Dees is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington. He can be reached at 770-786-9031 or www.firstbaptistcovington.com or www.facebook.com/jasondees.