An Invitation to imitation
15 This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I’m the biggest sinner of all. 16 But this is why I was shown mercy, so that Christ Jesus could show his endless patience to me first of all. So I’m an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (CEB)
I ain’t perfect. Not in my grammar, not in my integrity, not in anything. Far from it. But here’s the thing. God loves me anyway. Christ died for me anyway. Was I still to harsh on my children when the didn’t get ready for school this morning without a bunch of reminders? Probably. Does God still love and forgive me. Yes.
I learned a long time ago that I’m far from perfect. And yet God still love me and calls me still calls to follow, to serve. Some days I’m better at it than others. Here’s the thing, I’m still called to lead and teach others to follow, even through my imperfect example, and so are you. Whether it’s at home or at work or anywhere in the world.
Today’s verse from 1 Timothy is a reminder of all that God has done for us, of Christ on the cross, of how much God loves us. And so we are called to follow Christ, and imitate Jesus. We are also called to share that with others, to invite them to imitate us as we imitate Jesus, until they learn to do it for themselves and lead others in this way too.
When I was in seminary, taking a class on youth ministry, we had a guest speaker who taught us, “Know this. One of those kids in the youth group wants to be you. They want to do what you do. They are watching how you live your life, how you follow Jesus.” I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of pressure because I know my own sins all too well. I later learned to accept my role as imperfect role model. Actually, I think it’s better that I am far from perfect, because those who learn from imitating me can also learn from my mistakes. Let them imitate me, I’m a sinner! It’s an opportunity to teach God’s grace and love.
Here’s your challenge. You’re never to old to grow in faith. Find someone you look up to in the faith, spend time with them, and learn from them. Imitate them imitating Jesus. Know that they will be imperfect, but learn from that too. Also, realize, others are watching you, not to see if you will mess up, or how you mess up, but how you respond when you get it all wrong.
Prayer: Lord, fill my mind with wisdom and my heart with love. Help me to grow to be more like you. Continue to transform me from the inside out. Help me to lead others who want to do the same as learn to follow you.