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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