“Join in imitating me”

Do you have a mentor?  Do you know someone who follows Christ and you use that person as an example to follow?

Though it’s not always possible, this is actually a sound Biblical practice, as the Apostle Paul reminds us:

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. – Philippians 3:17 (ESV)

I have two initial thoughts when I read this:

  1. The idea of telling someone else to follow “my” example is really bold and it takes a special type of person to make this request; and
  2. We have no shortage of religious folks today that want us to follow them and give them some of our cash.  But, most of them we probably shouldn’t be imitating.

I think Paul can give us this admonition for a couple of main reasons:

  1. He’s an Apostle.  That’s a capital “A” Apostle.  He holds a special office within the church and he is therefore qualified by God, ordained if you will, to give this command.
  2. He has lived a life worth following.  Paul’s perspective on life was that Christ should be proclaimed and he could truly say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  We can surely follow this example!

The key, I think, in this day and age, is to find someone credible on which to base our example.  We should not only see with our eyes that our “example” is living out a live in Christ, but we should also have a deeper understanding of this person so that we can have an idea about their inner workings.

This person should be available to encourage us, teach us, and also, perhaps, rebuke us.  If it sounds like this might be a hard person to find, well, it probably is.  So here’s my suggestion…

Rather than us searching and searching for someone to mentor us, why don’t we search out for someone to mentor?  Why don’t we start adding to the life of someone else rather than looking for someone to pour into our’s?

This doesn’t have to be an official program.  And it doesn’t have to take the form of an official announcement that you are mentoring a younger person in your church.  Perhaps it can start by trying to make friends with someone younger than yourself.  Ask questions.  Listen.  Make a few minutes for them.  Grab a coffee.  I’m guessing that little by little, this person will recognize what a resource you could be for them.

 

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