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Make the Key

By Patrick Tyndall
When nothing else works, sometimes you have to make the key to unlock men's hearts!

Recently I lost my key chain along with all valuable keys.  This key chain included the key to my truck, my wife's van, and every other key that I use on a regular basis.  While I have my theories about which of my four "precious" children is the culprit, I cannot prove anything.  If you have ever lost a key, there are few things in life more frustrating than not being able to open a lock, especially when you had the key a week before!   

Last week I couldn't take it any longer.  Many of my favorite tools are carried in the toolbox in the bed of my truck.  So I drove to a locksmith here in Columbia, SC and witnessed a Christ-like miracle!  The skilled Locksmith climbed in the back of my truck and measured the opening with a caliper.  Then he chose a blank key that slid in the hole.  After blowing some graphite in the hole, I saw this master Locksmith take a file and slowly shave away certain parts of the key to make it fit precisely in the lock.  Within 10 minutes, he had made a new key from scratch and my toolbox was open!  The Locksmith can't walk on water, but this miracle was pretty impressive!

After observing hundreds of men on our retreats, I have come to realize that most of them have a very secure lock on their heart.  On the outside they appear to have it all together.  Tough, rugged, and capable are the words they want others to use when describing them.  But deep down these men are hurting.  They have marriages that are falling apart.  They are in debt up to their nose hair and have jobs that are not fulfilling.  They are upset with themselves because of sin in their life that they cannot beat.    To use an Ironman axiom, "we all struggle with the same things and pretend that we don't."

As we try to "Connect Men to Christ in the Outdoors" we have to constantly find a way to "make the key" that will help that man unlock his heart.  For a lot of men, we need to put them in the right atmosphere to talk about these issues of the heart.  We believe, a hunting lodge or a lake house is the perfect place for men to open up.  We also have to create a safe conversation in which a man feels comfortable enough to "take off his camo" and really talk about what is going on in his life.  With God's help, Ironman Outdoors has made a key that will open the lock on men's hearts!

For those of you who have a pre-Christian Husband, Father, or Son...here's a question to ask yourself:  what will it take to make a key to unlock his heart?  You may be frustrated because this lock has been on there for years and there's seemingly no hope.  But for eternity's sake, it's worth one more try.  Invite him to Church, talk with him about Christ, or get him in touch with Ironman Outdoors.  And if it doesn't work at first, don't give up.  The locksmith didn't make my key on the first try; it took at least 10 tries to get it right.  With each failure he took a file and changed his approach.

For those who persevere, it's worth it!  God has blessed Ironman Outdoors on several recent retreats.  We have seen the lock come open on several men's hearts!  Several men have been baptized and joined the local church, other men have begun praying with their wives, and others got control over the sin in their lives!  Ultimately God makes the key, and we are thankful to be a part of the process!

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