Last week, a friend from church gave me a book to read called The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips. Monday I set down to read and after doing so, I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female. I would like to share the opening illustration of chapter 11, “Men in Friendship” with you today. 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. The other stands in a small nondescript park some 2½ miles away. This statue is of a lesser-known Civil War figure, Major General John Rawlins. This statue has actually been moved eight times and is hardly ever noticed by visitors. Rawlins was lawyer in Grant's home town and had been a good friend before the war. During the war, he became Grant’s chief of staff. Rawlings knew Grant’s character flaws, especially his weakness for alcohol. At the beginning of the war Rawlings was given a pledge from Grant to abstain from drunkenness and when the general threatened to fall away from that promise, his friend would encourage him and support him until he was back on track. Rawlings memorial is modest compared to the mounted glory of Grant’s, yet without his love and support Grant would hardly have been able to climb into the saddle.
Ours is a world that celebrates the individual—the power of one, solitary achievements, and individual laurels. But God sees things from a very different perspective. Solomon in Ecclesiastes wrote: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up (Eccl. 4:9-10)