by Matt Smith
Imitators. All through life there are times when we might be tempted to imitate someone. I’m sure we’ve all seen the pictures of little 3 and 4 year old boys “shaving” next to their father in the bathroom, or little girls doing their makeup next to mom. Though things have changed for me, growing up my favorite sport was baseball and many hours were spent playing wiffle ball with my brothers/friends. One of my good friends was a Dodger fan and I was a Phillies fan. When we would have the chance to go to over each other’s houses and play wiffle ball, we would play an actual “game” of Phillies vs. Dodgers. No, we didn’t just call ourselves by our favorite team names; we actually tried to imitate each of the players on those teams. So if my starting pitcher for the game had an unusual windup or even pitching lefty, we tried to imitate that pitcher in our game. And if I was up to bat and was leading off, I would try to imitate the batting stance of whoever was leading off for the Phillies in those days. We were truly imitating our favorite teams.
In our reading today, we also see reference to imitating, albeit in a much more important context. 1 Thess. 1:6 says that the Thessalonian church “became followers of us, and of the Lord…” Also in 2:14 it says, “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus.” The word followers used in those two verses could just have easily been translated “imitators”. So Paul was rejoicing that these believers were becoming imitators of “us”, referring to Paul himself, Silas and Timothy, of the churches in Judea and of the Lord Himself.
This thought begs this question, how comfortable would you and I be if someone was trying to imitate our lives? Would you be encouraged that someone was trying to imitate you? Clearly, even the most godly among us would point to areas we would not want someone to imitate but in an overall context, would that be a good thing? Would we want our children, grandchildren and other younger people that we have influence on to truly imitate us? Though there certainly is a danger in anyone being a true imitator of another person, may we accept the challenge of living our lives so that someone could follow our way of life and, by extension, be able to say that they “walk worthy of God” (2:12) as Paul admonished them.
August 20, 2018
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