Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Living Out Biblical Manhood -- My Cousin Steve

This is my cousin, Steve Hill, or at least, the way I remember him from my childhood. In my huge Benzing family of 30+ cousins and 30+ second cousins, Steve ranks up there as a universal favorite for everyone. My whole life I have known Steve to be a kind and gentle guy, easy to talk with. His soft-spoken humor and friendly demeanor endears him to all who know him. Steve is the son of my dad's older sister, Aunt Pat. He and his wife Lorraine, have 4 children: Josh, Isaac, Joseph and Anna.

Steve came to Christ as a young child, and after attending a spiritual disciplines retreat in junior high, he increasingly committed his life to being sold out for Christ -- knowing Him and making Him known. During college, he worked with international students from around the world staying in London, where he was encouraged to press on in his faith, and grow and learn much. He still enjoys serving in Christ's name internationally, and recently took a missions trip with his oldest son to Costa Rica.

When I asked him what God had been teaching him lately, he replied "How important it is to prepare my children to live for Christ: to make Him the center of their life, to love unconditionally, to prepare for suffering, to make the most of every opportunity. I am not sure how well we are doing at this -- some days are much better than others and we have to take the long view on their discipleship." This seasoned dad had lots of great insight on investing in your children. Here is just the tip of the iceberg, some really great stuff I don't hear a lot of people saying:

"Understand that you are responsible for the education of your children. God will hold you accountable. Read the Bible to your children regularly. they will retain and recall so much that you read to them -- even years later. There will be constant attempts to crowd out this particular activity -- make it a priority (and try to make it interesting :)"

"Manage deliberately the transition from boy to man. I am in the midst of this and trying to properly manage transfer of responsibility and accountability."

"Control and preview the media that your children have access to. Be firm on avoiding evil here. Your kids will push early for more freedoms in this area, but once you are proven to be firm, they will also have this conviction. Take time to explain to your children why things are right and wrong. Commands that they cannot watch certain shows or wear certain clothes are empty rules and regulations without clear explanation. Take time to research this so you can systematically explain this to them from the Scriptures."

I really appreciated Steve's humble masculinity. He is a servant leader to his family. I asked him what advice he'd give to husbands out there, and here is a bit of what he gave me (I'm quoting again, because what he wrote was so good!):

"Be generous with your wealth, recognizing God's ownership. Have the right attitude towards money and possessions -- this is the downfall of so many. I would suggest reading Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn -- one of the best books on the right perspective on possessions and ownership tha
t I have read, and will help provide principles for your family."

"Do not be lured into the passive 'silence of Adam'. There are times when your wife or children will want to go in a different direction that you feel uncomfortable with. If your still small voice gives you concern, speak up and work this out with your family. God will use you and your wife in different ways to have sensitivity to sin and His leading. Speaking your concerns is hard because of the pote
ntial conflict it may cause, but it is essential."

I now know Steve to not only be kind and gentle, but wise and godly, an example of Biblical Manhood living out loud in this modern era where such men are few and far between. Steve told me he was working to internalize his personal mission statement: "I want to be a servant of God for his purposes, and a servant of others in obedience to his call. I want to recognize that I am a steward of God for all the possessions, relationships, family and opportunities he has given me. I am a constant student of His Word and of the life and world He has created. I am a citizen of heaven and all that entails -- an ambassador for Christ, an alien and stranger on earth, a subject of the King and His kingdom, and a brother to my family in the body of Christ."

Thanks, Steve. You are a treasure to your family and all who are blessed to know you.

9 comments:

Rebecca said...

What a great post, Gretchen. I'm loving these. I knew Steve the kid but I don't know Steve the man...we lost touch as we all seem to do once we hit adulthood. Thanks for doing these...you have a long way to go to include everyone but they are so well worth it!! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Gretchen, thanks for sharing what I have witnessed in Steve's life. I pray daily for him and his famiy that he will through the power of the Holy Spirit continue to yeild and follow Christ with the passion he has displayed and that he will be a light to others. He is my joy and treasure, my friend and my son.

Anonymous said...

Gretchen,
What a great idea God gave you to share family in this manner. if it would be possible to put each entry in a book, it would be priceless. Thanks for your great spirit. What a great honor to Mom & Dad in the way they brought us up. Praise God.
Love you...Aunt Diane

Beth said...

You are right- Steve is the universally well liked cousin! From the older group of cousins down to the younger, every one loves Steve and I think your post helps explain why. What a great testimony he has of serving Christ and serving others. Thanks for putting this together- it is amazing to see how much God has blessed the Benzing family.

Anonymous said...

One more comment from me about Steve, it is about Pat too. I have used their lives to help others who have gone through tough time and have pointed them to what God can do and will do regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. They both are a testimonty to the grace and power of God. And Amen!!

Love ya, Diane

Anonymous said...

What a great post Gret! :) Thanks for helping us all in the "fam" learn more about Steve as a man and father rather than just "cousin Steve", I'll admit it's hard to know someone from just a few minutes each Christmas! (or every other:)
Glad to have him!

Emily said...

these anonymous people need to get blogger....because I confused...was that Anna or Dad above me?

Gretchen said...

Em,

My guess was actually Janet. Dad always signs Dad. Could be Anna.

The other anonymous was surely Aunt Pat.

Anonymous said...

sorry Gretchen...I just reread the comments here, and the unknown commenter that annoyed Emily was me :)

Anna