A Few Good Men

Character counts. Godly character really counts.

 I will never forget what Wintley Phipps once told me, “Cheryl, if a man is not committed to God, he will not be committed to you.”

I am confident that there are men today who are committed to being men of standard. I reflected on this while hearing a message from Pastor John K. Jenkins on A Few Good Men.  He mentioned that men are not perfect and that all have flaws, but there is still a remnant seeking to be all God wants them to be.

My mind immediately went to my father, Rev. Elihue Martin. Each year I have a greater appreciation of what he represents. Maybe I think of him more because of his failing health the past few years. I realize I did not appreciate him as much as I should when I was growing up. I thought most men were like him. Now I know him to be a rare breed.

Elihue Martin only completed the sixth grade. He served in World War II and later went to a trade school and picked up the skills to be a barber. I passed his shop every day as I walked to elementary school. He cut hair by day and rushed home in the evenings to attend church services.

All of my life, I have only known him to be a man of godly integrity. It was not unusual for me to see him reading his Bible,  on his knees praying, or lying prostrate before God late at night. He consistenly led family devotions six mornings a week. We had Sunday school at home before we went to Sunday school. He never lied to us. He said “a man’s word is his bond.” I never heard him use profanity. Never a hint of adultery or flirtation with another woman. He taught my 7 brothers and me a strong work ethic. No one was allowed to sleep late. We had to respect his rules. He taught us to respect authority. He and mother never cared how others ran their houses. They were committed to obeying God no matter what, not winning a popularity contest.  My Dad preached against credit before we got our first credit cards. He always taught living below your means. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. He was consumed with keeping up with God’s commandments.

My father isn’t perfect but I know in my heart he has done his absolute best to please God. In just a few months, he will turn 90. Yes, there remains a few good men.

Expecting great things of God,



2 Responses to “A Few Good Men”

  1. Denise Says:

    I was struck and pleased by your father being a man of standard, of godly integrity, who lived his life by example… and you also noted he had a sixth grade education, and later on became a barber. I mention this because of a conversation I had recently with a girl friend who told me that she knew I would only want a man who had a graduate degree. She added a questionmark in her voice… possibly to emphasize our agreement. I admit I was surprised since I had not ever thought of that type of credential for my perfect mate.

    Is something wrong with me? Am I short-sighted? As far back as I can remember, I always wanted a man with unquestionable integrity, a man who was committed to God was my “must have”. Should I have been going after something more? Something else? Her question opened my eyes to a similar tacit expectation that some people around me have for me…

    Cheryl, the example your father set, is another prime example that it’s who he is and not what he is that will determine a man’s impact. Your father with his humble beginnings was rich in his understanding of purpose and inheritance and he’s planted seeds in his children who are continuing the message and the example. What an impact… “into all the worlds”.

    As I talk to women they are definitely concerned with the “whats”. He must have [this], he must wear [that], he must drive [the other] and on and on. I want those things too… I’m sure, but I’m even more sure that I want a man of standard… a man of unquestionable integrity… a man who is wholly committed to God.

    How I responded to my friend? I told her I was sure that his degree was not as important to me as his character. Character and his faith in God will be the hallmark of my good man. Thanks for this post!!

    • excellentliving Says:

      Denise, thanks so much for your thoughtful reply to “A Few Good Men.” No there is nothing wrong with you…in fact there is a lot “right” with you. Your values are in the right place. For years I had a superficial list of what I wanted in a mate. Yes, he had to be a committed Christian, but other attributes that my father have, were not at the top. Life has taught me that “character” goes a long way…and that godly character amd kindness are priceless.

      If you have trusted God with your love life, remember what one of my brothers prayed, “God, you know what I need, but you also know what I like.” He will give you someone you are also compatible with in other areas. My father was greatly influenced by my godly mother. She knew that he was not perfect, but she was most strucky by his love for God and his integrity. His relationship with the Lord grew as a result of her prayers and witness. She complimented his life significantly.

      Stay true to your beliefs. Talk to God about your desires. He delights in giving good gifts to His children. “No good thing with he withhold from those who walk upright.” Psalm 84:11.

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