Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Key verse: (6) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Reflection: Being an imitator gets a bad rap in our culture that values independence and individuality. Certainly each of us is a unique child of God but we learn so much by imitating others. I have taken courses in education but much of my teaching style comes from imitating my favorite teachers. Musicians listen to a great master over and over again as they learn to play an instrument. Children imitate their parents, “shaving” like Dad or wearing Mom’s shoes to walk around the house. It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We imitate those we admire because, at some level, we know we want to be more like them.
So much of our faith is learned through imitation! When we baptize children in the church, we ask the parents “Relying on God’s grace, do you promise to live the Christian faith, and to teach that faith to your child?” The primary way we teach faith to our children is by living out our own faith in daily life. Our children watch us and they imitate us. They see our priorities in the way we use our time and our money. They know how we treat our neighbors, whether that is the older widow across the street or the waiter at the restaurant. They notice what we are doing in worship, if we are singing and praying or if we are reading emails on our phone.
Whether or not you have young children at home, you are being watched by those around you. If you claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, does your life bear witness to that claim? Would others want to imitate you? Are you imitating Christ? It’s the call to be a disciple. Not just to follow behind Christ, or to study about Christ, but to be more like Christ in our daily lives. We are called to imitate the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to imitate you in everything I do, everything I say, and everything I am. Shape my character daily to be more like you. In this Advent season, give me role models in faith who encourage and inspire me. In your holy name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].