I just came in from my morning walk.
My devotions led me to this…
“Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
1 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
It is fairly common to see someone who has been battered, and sometimes bludgeoned, by some bully wielding a Bible. I will quite likely be the next victim for having said so.
Another understatement coming.
That’s a shame.
I honor the Bible. I read it every single day. I think about its lessons pretty much constantly.
And I also know its dangers.
But this morning I am reflecting upon a different truth. Guess what? Paul of Tarsus and Peter of Galilee, and Martha of Bethany didn’t have the Bible, as we know it. Not at all. They had the Hebrew Bible but not what we call the New Testament. It would be three centuries before that blessed document came to be. It is not coincidental, in my judgment, that those three centuries were the most profoundly dynamic the church has known.
So when Paul, who could be a bit vain, said “imitate me” he was not being about himself. He was speaking one of the most vital truths we can hear. And it is a truth that needs to come to life wherever there are people who follow after God in the Way of Jesus.
If you want to know about our faith don’t learn a bunch of lessons in a class somewhere. Instead, keep an eye on someone who has traveled far along the road to being Christlike.
Several decades ago I read a pretty profound essay. The writer said that children should not be in catechism or confirmation classes. That tends to enhance their chances of becoming scholars of the law but not dispensers of grace.
They should be shown a loving and humble soul whose faith is grace filled and merciful and be told “follow her around” and “do what he does.”
Last week I and two friends went to Haiti. A part of our mission involved taking Bibles in Creole. Seemed like a good thing to do.
But not so much.
Turns out a high percentage of the adults can’t read.
But they can see. And so can their children. And so can our children. And so can adults who most likely aren’t going to read a Bible - in any language.
Last night I was hugged and encouraged by two men who won’t ever see the redemptive ways of Jesus unless they see them in me.
I just pray, from the depths of my being, that they saw some glimmer of the love I have known. I pray, with all that I am, that they will come around you so that I can say “do what they do.”
When that time comes, and it will,…