Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing!Albert Schweitzer
Imitators and examples. The apostle Paul mentions this in the reading above. He says that the people in this church at Thessalonika (a city in northern Greece) were both imitators and examples. What does he mean?
Do you remember when you were young that you often imitated what you saw others do? You probably learned to tie your shoes by watching your mother or a teacher. Or, perhaps grandad taught you how to catch a fish, or your dad taught you how to chop wood or fix a bicycle chain. You imitated what grandad and your father taught you. Perhaps you learned how to roll out a pie crust or make bread from your grandmother, or knit from your mother. You imitated and you practiced what they taught you. They showed you how. Think about those days. What did you learn from your family, teachers and friends that you tried to imitate?
Then, you became very skilled at some things yourself, and soon you were the teacher! You became the example! You were the one who was imitated by someone else!
This is what happened with the folks at Thessalonika, according to the apostle Paul. “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, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, emphasis added).
We all have had spiritual mentors from whom we learned about our Christian faith. We learned what the Bible teaches. We saw how to be kind, how to be patient and how to love by following the examples of others.
And then, we ourselves became mentors. Perhaps we don’t realize it, but other people watch us. They see and mark how we love others and how we treat them. We are examples to them, and this is a huge responsibility!
Loving God, help me to be watchful of my behavior that I might never lead others astray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.