“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:1-2).
Hey Gang: When I was a little squeezer I tried to be an imitator of all my heroes. Saturday morning was a ritual in my life, I would truck off the movie theater and watch the Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger and all of the heroes of that day’s serials. And on the way home from the theater I visualized myself as an imitator of those great heroes.
But the agreement with my mom was, I could go to be with my heroes in the morning but my afternoon belonged to her. It did not take long after arriving home- that the dreams of riding my stallion into the sunset to save the poor damsels that were in distress- went by the board and reality set in, as she laid out the chores of the day
As I read the many wonderful stories in the Bible, I would often put myself into those stories and dream that I had my armor on, with helmet down and sword in hand that was fighting for the Lord and leading His warriors to victory. When God called us to come to Michigan to open a home for kids that were having adjustment problems, there was a two-year period when I was ‘The only unemployed director of a non-existent boys home’ and, I confess, I did a lot of imitating. I imitated the Floyd Starr’s, the Cal Farley’s and even Father Flanagan who had been led by God to do as I prayed God had called me to do.
My question to you this morning, is it okay to be an imitator? Is it okay to dream big dreams where God uses you in very special way? Isaiah 6:8 became very special to me: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” then I said, “Here am I, Send Me!”
Paul said, “If you really want to be great in God’s kingdom then be an imitator of God.” Paul also wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “For in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you to be imitators of me”. (4:15b-15). Do you think it would be okay to be an imitator of Paul?”
He also wrote, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). But notice, he laid a solid foundation for this statement; “Rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, giving thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus and being careful not to quench the Spirit, nor despising prophetic utterances” (I Thess. 5:16-20).
And how do we become imitators of Christ? Once, again, we turn to the words of Paul, “Walk in love, just as Christ also loves you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:2).
So my young friends, as I told my staff many times, it is not what you say, it is how you carry yourself. Do the kids see something they want to imitate? How about you?