“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”—3 John 11
Our culture prizes originality. No one wants to be considered an imitation! But in a number of places in the Bible we are admonished to model ourselves after someone or something, either a person or an ideal.
It makes sense if you think about it. None of us is born fully formed; we are constantly being shaped by the world around us.
As I write this I am babysitting my 9 month-old granddaughter. Her most salient attribute is her curiosity. Every moment she is taking it all in; wide-eyed she watches everything around her.
She will learn about the world from others, primarily her parents, but also from other family members, from teachers at school and people at church.
This is how we all learn and grow at whatever age. Our moral character is largely determined over time by what we choose to imitate and what we choose not to imitate.
And it reassures me to know that I don’t have to make up my moral world from scratch; to realize that there are reliable guides and blueprints for living well.
Some of these guides are in books, but the most important ones are the ones we have known in person.
I invite you to take a few moments to recall in your mind’s eye the people who have had the most influence on who you have become. What did you learn from them? What about them did you imitate? Then thank God for them!
Prayer: We thank you, God, for all the faithful guides you have given us to imitate.
(This is my United Church of Christ Daily Devotion for October 19, 2017. To see the original go here. To subscribe to the UCC Daily Devotional and receive it every day by e-mail go here. Photo: “Mountain Men Guides by Winslow Homer from Clark Art, one of my favorites from their permanent collection.)