I have always been one that tends to learn by example. As such I would consider myself to be a somewhat keen observer of people… especially of those that I hold in high esteem. As a Christian I have always kept a watchful eye on the men and women that I consider to be leaders and/or generals within the body of Christ. One of those individuals is the pastor I served under for around twelve plus years beginning in the mid 1990’s.
One of the important techniques he taught and demonstrated to me in his daily responsibilities while ministering to others, was to find out where the individual was in their faith before praying and working with them. At one point in our service to that church I had an opportunity to put this tool to work when the Pastor was out of town on a convention.
While standing in for him, I received a call from a parishioner concerning another member of our congregation who was in the hospital and was reported to be nearing his final days on this earth. When my wife and I entered the hospital room, I was a bit shaken and unknowingly squeezed Piper’s hand for additional strength as the gentleman was lying with his eyes closed in bed, was quite pale and to be honest… I thought he might have already passed!
After a few moments I was able to take a long breath as he finally began to stir and open his eyelids when I softly called out his name. Once he recognized us and became a little more alert, the color seemed to return to his face and we began to talk. We opened up with some light hearted conversation and humorous antidotes and then when he relaxed and looked to be enjoying the gathering, we began to discuss his situation in earnest.
Thinking about what Pastor Jerry would do in this situation, I asked him what he wanted to do… and where his faith was concerning this desire. It was pretty evident that he was not ready to go home to be with the Lord and felt like he still had things to do for the Lord even though he was well advanced in years. So Piper and I stood in faith with him, shared the Word with his faith expectations in mind, and prayed to the Lord for him in that vain. This particular story also had a good ending as our brother was soon released from the hospital and lived for another year or so before going home, satisfied I might add, to receive his just reward.
Now, I told that story as an example of one individual being a “copycat” of someone else. I may not have said the same exact words nor followed the same physical manner of steps that our Senior Pastor might have taken if he had been there, but I did seek to copy the pattern and truth of what he taught and I’d seen him do many times over the years, within the realm of my personal gifts and talents.
I believe this is the same thing that Paul is trying to convey to us in the latter part of Ephesians 2:10 when he declared that “He (Papa God) has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” (God’s Word ©) As I read this section of scripture my immediate thought was: “What are these good works that He is talking about?” And from deep inside I quickly remembered John 14:12 where Jesus told His disciples toward the end of His ministry here on the earth, “I guarantee this truth. Those who believe in me (like you and me…) will do the things I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father.” (God’s Word ©)
The Message Bible says that I “am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing.” These scriptures seem to make it fairly clear that as Christians we have been tasked to do the same type of things on this earth that our Lord Jesus did when He was here. The Great Commission commands that Jesus gave to us at the end of Matthew and Mark also seemed to confirm this… and in those verses He gives us the legal right and authority to use His name and the power invested in THAT name to accomplish His work on the earth!
Now if that doesn’t make you stop and reconsider your Christian walk and the effects it can… and should have… in your daily life, then I don’t know what would! Maybe this is where you should stop reading and go splash some cold water on your face! This is not the same message that many of us were taught all our lives! But to me, the scriptures seem to be pretty vocal and straight forward about this. We are to be “copycats” of Jesus here on this earth!
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “copycat” as “a person who does the same thing as someone else; A person who adopts the behavior, style. etc., of someone else.” I was accused of being a “copycat” of our Senior Pastor a few times by some disgruntled church members back then… and to be honest… I took it as a compliment! I would also LOVE to hear someone call me a “copycat” of Jesus… wouldn’t you?
Get into your Bible and check it out from the point of view of this blog and I believe that you just might begin to see some things you never saw before. I dare you to go out this weekend seeing yourself as “the head and not the tail… above and not beneath” (See Deuteronomy 28:13 & 44). I’ll bet that you’ll find yourself walking with a big smile on your face, a fresh hop in your step and a new self-confidence and expectancy that you never thought was attainable before! Have a great weekend. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “In What or in Whom am I expecting to walk triumphantly today?”