Thursday, September 6, 2012

Imitation by Martin Wiles

My little nephew was at it again. I played the game and my children did too, but it can be very annoying. I’m not sure the game has a name, but imitation will do. It’s the game where the child repeats everything the adult says-over and over until the adult’s nerves are frazzled. 
I also played another game of imitation called preaching. My pulpit was a TV stand and my great grandmother was the audience. From my small vantage point, I preached to her what I heard my preacher father say. I didn’t understand everything I was saying. I was just parroting what I heard every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night.

Paul was an imitator himself and was being imitated. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 1:6). Since entering a faith relationship with Jesus Christ, Paul tried his best to imitate him and wanted others to do the same.

Imitation can be rote or real, have meaning or simply be motions we go through because they’ve been traditionalized in our life. My nephew’s had no meaning. He continued playing and at the same time parroted everything the adults said. My preaching motions were identical. Not until I entered the same relationship as Paul did the meaning of the motions change.

Religious imitations are admirable-church attendance, giving, charitable deeds, prayer, Bible reading, but they can never substitute for a real relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. Are you imitating others by going through motions that have no meaning?

Prayer: Father God, may our acts of service never be mere rote imitation but have real meaning.