I’ve been reading an incredible book lately called The Time Is Now – one of those that you sit down with for a few minutes and then an hour later you wonder where the time went. (The best kind of book, that is!) It starts out by looking at Scripture for clues about what prophets do.
There, we see two separate but related truths.
First, prophets denounce. That is, they say, “No.” To violence, to injustice, to greed, to war, to demonizing the stranger. Just as importantly, they say, “Yes.” To embracing difference, to generosity, to truth, to peace, to justice, to love. The greatest prophet, of course, for Christians is Jesus Christ. The prophetic call, then, for us is not only to live praising Jesus but to live imitating him. Jesus didn’t spend much time asking us to worship him, but he did ask quite a few times for us to follow him.
What’s the difference?
Think about the last time you learned a skill. If you’re like me, you watched and listened first and then you tried it. Probably failed the first time and maybe a few more times. Then you caught on and got better and better. You might then have wanted to teach someone else, or at least invite someone to do it with you. Same thing here. If I want to imitate Jesus, I need to watch what he does and then do that. How?
Following the Master
If we want to imitate Jesus, we have to dig around a little for clues. Fortunately, Scripture gives us loads of help.
- Who did Jesus eat with? Those who didn’t have a place at the table.
- Where did he spend his time? With those on the margins of life.
- What did Jesus talk about? The dangers of money and possessions –and he talked about that a lot!
- What did Jesus warn us about? The aforementioned money and possessions, as well as paying heed to compassion, faithfulness and love.
I know that I have a way to go on my road of imitating. How about you? Thankfully, Jesus never expected perfection. Only faithfulness. This week, I invite you to find something in your thoughts or actions that might not be the best reflection of the Master. Talk to someone you trust about how to turn it around.