One of the reasons God has determined that men should lead the Church is because they have one track minds. As unlikely and as incredible as that may seem, the gospel itself ultimately rests on this reality. Admittedly, this is often the sort of trait men receive much grief for, and often enough the grief is well deserved. But let’s not pretend that this is not also something inborn, something distinctively masculine. It is not a design flaw, a defect in assembly. No, this is most certainly a design feature, an intentionally premeditated quality, a gift.
Take a male at random, and typically he has one thing on his mind, one thing on the brain. Sure, maybe it’s sex, but maybe it’s cars or guns or comic books or trains or music or building something or hunting or fishing or you know what? It could be many different things at different times. But men were made to generally focus on one thing at a time. The male brain is able to focus one particular thing, closing many other things out.
This is why, incidentally – women, when he says he isn’t thinking about anything, that’s often exactly right. He isn’t a woman with fifteen things bombarding him and another 26 standing in line behind them.
When it comes to pastoral ministry, this calling requires the ability to focus energy and attention in intense situations and then, almost without notice, the ability to switch gears completely. I’m not saying this is a mechanical switch in a man’s brain. Sometimes it’s hard to shake off one situation and dive into the next. Sometimes it’s hard to forget. But it’s a pastor’s job to focus and forget. He must trudge through the murky pools of sin, proclaim the healing gospel of forgiveness and cleansing, and then He must forget just like God who does not remember our sins. A pastor must not forget everything. This is why spiritual and character formation are so important for young men (and all men). Judgment includes considering all the details, a judge must be diligent and vigilant, but so much of reacting and judging rightly in any given situation — for a man– relies on what is already embedded in his heart, in his character. A good tree will produce good fruit. A wise man will judge wisely. A fool will shoot himself in the foot.
A soldier isn’t trained to think. He’s trained to act. He’s trained to throw himself on the live grenade, to run into the face of danger without a thought to his own personal safety. This is a glory. This is what makes a man a hero. Of course, because men are sinners, this can also have disastrous effects. Soldiers can commit atrocities in battle precisely because they are not thinking. A man can commit adultery because he uses this trait sinfully. This tendency is no excuse for sin, no excuse for forgetting the law of God and the law of love. But the fact that this masculine trait can be misused is no reason for rejecting it or resenting it altogether. God made men this way so that they would lead, so that they would not be hindered by worries and fears and thousands of other concerns. He made men so that they would have a singular focus in order to accomplish certain kinds of difficult things. He gave women different strengths, different glory in order that they might accomplish other kinds of difficult things.
In other words, it is simply not true that God could have been incarnate as a man or a woman. It is not true because the act of salvation and redemption is a peculiarly masculine mission. It required a singular focus. It was not an arbitrary choice that Jesus was a man. It could have been no other way. Jesus fixed His mind on the joy that was set before Him and endured the cross, despising the shame, and has now sat down at the right hand of the Father. He had one thing on His mind, and it was the joy of rescuing you. That takes a certain kind of hero. It takes a man with only one thing on His mind. And pastors are called to be that kind of man.