Director, Online Programming, InTouch Ministries (Charles Stanley)
Former executive editor, Christianity.com
Ph.D., Communication, Regent University
Husband of Lisa Ryan, former 700 Club Producer
Has 3 daughters
Marcus Ryan: Hope for the 'Restless Journey'
The 700 Club
HIS REAL LAST NAME
Marcus says his dad was a good father but he was busy. They spent little time together when Marcus was young.
“We never really sat down and talked about the path to manhood, about the principles of life,” says Marcus.
By the time he was 20, Marcus realized he was looking for a mentor. While Marcus met many men that he thought could teach him the ropes, none of those relationships seemed to work out. He reminds men that while they may be following trails set before them, they are also blazing trails behind them for their own children.
“We can easily move through life trying to be what we think we are supposed to be,” says Marcus. “We are so focused ahead that we forget what is behind.”
Marcus recalls that he never felt attachment to his last name. When Marcus was in his 20s, he discovered that Watkins was not his real last name. After his grandparents divorced, his grandmother remarried a man with the last name of Watkins. Before long, Marcus’ grandmother left her second husband but his father, who was young at the time, chose to stay with Mr. Watkins.
Marcus was totally surprised the day his father (in his 60s) decided to go back to his real last name. “Somehow my father’s lifelong internal struggle had been my struggle as the eldest son all my life,” says Marcus. “I knew the name I had worn to that point didn’t reflect who I really was on the inside….and my father’s willingness to reveal his struggle…brought the reality of the battle to the surface.”
Deep inside, most men know there is more to life than status, money and getting ahead, but a richer life seems elusive. Marcus says a few men he has spoken with have given little thought to their life’s purpose. Marcus says these same men readily admit they sensed that something wasn’t right in their lives though they didn’t know what it was. They felt they were getting farther off course and experienced a sense of restlessness. Over time, these men sense they are somehow detached from their family, career, and often themselves.
In 2001, Marcus says he realized his life was not going the way he wanted. There was no crisis in his life, and his family, business and academic studies were going very well. Yet Marcus still felt unsettled. Over the next year, Marcus wrestled with the whole idea of life and living. For years, Marcus was trying to become the person he thought he needed to be: father, husband, scholar, executive, Christian. Each one felt like a role he played in a particular situation. Marcus wondered if anyone at his funeral would know him from a role he played or truly recognize him as a whole man. He decided to embark on a quest to find and embrace the man God made him to be.
TO BE KNOWN
As most men “muscle” through life, Marcus says it is their quest to be known that is the driving force behind what they do. Marcus says “being known” is not about being a celebrity or being the life of the party. He reminds us that in the Bible God Himself consistently reaches into the world to touch mankind in a unique way to be known. So if being known is important to God and it is part of His nature, then we possess the same desire and drive to be known since we are created in God’s image.
When Marcus’ father was in the hospital during his last days of his life, he told his family stories about his life. His dad talked about being raised by a stepfather, his time in the military and becoming a Christian. He talked about his work, disappointments and dreams. Marcus says his father was compelled to retell his story because he wanted to be sure his family knew him.
“He extended himself into the future because his story is integrated with ours,” says Marcus. We are reminded that life is a journey with a purpose. “We don’t meander through life marking time until we exit,” says Marcus. “Nothing is more rewarding than to know that you are fully known by God.”
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