In my daily devotional reading earlier this week something Eugene Peterson said really got my attention. Reflecting on those who are well known in our society he observed, “There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture.” Now that is not true of everyone, but it is for the most part. And not that as Christians we need heroes as such, but it is helpful to have some good examples and models. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Peterson when he notes, “We have celebrities but not saints.”
As I continued to mull over these thoughts and reflected on my life I realized I have had lots of good models and examples. Going all the way back to my church of late childhood and youth I can recall many who displayed much to admire as well as imitate. And I did both. Then in college and graduate school I was greatly impacted by several I would characterize as real saints; teachers who not only taught well but also gave me much more.
The truth is in a real way I want to be someone others admire and imitate. But I want them to imitate and admire me because I am living for the Lord. I want to be an example and a model because they see me as a follower of Jesus who is growing and maturing. I want to be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). Admittedly, too many times I am not the example I know I should be. But I am making progress; and I hope you are as well.
Who is following you and whom are you following?
(Adapted from Chapter 12 “Preacher’s Pen Columns” of my book A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters. You can check it out on the ‘my book’ page or at amazon.com.)
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I feel that my sons are following me, they often ask for guidance, advise and redirection from me. This keeps me living , to the best I can, as a person that can be followed and as a role model. The question whom do I follow I can not really answer since my Pastor and his wife left the church to retire.After a period of being lost I realized I still can follow them from a distance and I see my self reaching to the Bible more than before.
Thanks Claudia–I miss you!
There is always a responsibility to and for the people in our influence. You Bob were honest and well intentioned even as a young man. I looked up to you and you were of high integrity and passion as anyone I knew as a youth in your influence. I never believed you were perfect but again you never put yourself up as the perfect example.
Thanks Mike. You are a class act and a good guy. And if I haven’t told you, I am proud of you!
I am trying too:)
Keep it up Phil!