This verse stood out to me this Sunday, and I thought about it as I bounced along the dusty road in the back of my pickup. I don't usually ride in the back of my truck, but I decided to after church on Sunday. Looking up at the beautiful blue sky contrasted with the brilliant green of the lush greenery on either side of the road gave me a perfect chance to meditate on the truths of Scripture for a while.
Paul understood that people, by nature, are imitators. Oh, they may say they like to be unique, but ultimately, most of the time, people end up doing the same things that others have done. Obviously there are exceptions, but I am speaking in broad, general terms here.
You have heard the saying, "monkey see, monkey do," right? Well, I am not saying us humans are descendants of monkeys, but I do propose that we often practice the same habit! And by the way, photographed this guy last week. Isn't he... ummm... cute? :)
In fact, Sunday night, in church, I brought up this idea of "monkey see, monkey do," because I was in a K'ekchi church. I can communicate in Maya, but not K'ekchi, so when everyone was laughing at what the speaker was saying, I had the choice of keeping a serious face because I had no idea what he was saying, or I could "monkey see, monkey do," and laugh because everyone else was! You see, opportunities to imitate others abound everywhere!
Anyway, Paul understood that we act like monkeys. Oops, I mean that Paul understood human nature tends to imitate, to follow those who somehow we deem worthy of imitating. Often it is not a result of purposeful meditation on who best to follow, but it is a bent in our nature, whether purposeful or subconscious. Paul suggested a model to follow, prompting the minds and spirits of his readers to make a purposeful choice about who they were going to follow, rather than making random, unconscious decisions which could lead them astray.
And this is what struck me... Paul didn't just tell people to imitate Christ, no, he told them to imitate or follow him... as he imitated or followed Christ. Paul was confident of his example to others, confident that if they followed him, they would ultimately be following Christ. As I thought upon this, I realized that Paul was not confident of himself, rather he was confident of Christ at work in Him. He was confident of the priceless treasure held in the earthen vessel of his life: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;" (2 Corinthians 4:7).
We were all given the charge to make disciples... to call others to follow us as we follow Christ. Rather than wasting our time and energies imitating things of no value, may each of us press on toward the prize of the high calling we have in Jesus Christ, and as we do so, may we draw others to follow us in our quest.
What a challenge! What motivation to be, as God commands us to be, holy, as He is holy! Lord, purify our lives so that we might be faithful stewards of the treasure You have placed in our lives!