Saturday, September 23, 2023



I have heard it said that imitation is the best form of flattery.  This can often be the case when you begin dressing exactly like the coolest kid in school…unless of course the coolest kid in school graduated 16 years ago and is now living in the basement of his parent’s home. 

I remember my parents using this phrase when I was a child.

“Mom!!! Ryan’s copying me!!!” cried my frustrated little brother.

“Imitation is the best form of flattery.” My mother encouraged, trying to quiet her obsessively quarreling offspring in the back seat of the Pontiac.

“Mom! He keeps twitching his nose at me!” he insisted.

Silence from the front seat while I continued to mimic my nose twitching younger parasite of a brother. He would cover his eyes so he could not see what I was doing. I did the same.  He grunted and groaned in frustration. I did likewise. 

“Mom!” He won’t stop!”

“Mom! He won’t stop!” I repeated.

“Just ignore him.” My mother retorted.

My little brother turned his shoulder to me, placed his head against the window and went silent looking out the window.  I did the exact thing mirrored to the opposite side of the car.

“Mom! Now Ryan is ignoring me!”

“Good dear, that’s nice!”

Unfortunately, many of my actions in life have not been worth imitating, including the mocking imitations of my little brother and others.  In fact, it is always easier to proclaim, “Do as I say not as I do.” Yet, what we once again see in Paul’s second letter to the Church in Thessalonica, is an invitation to imitate. Paul claims that he, along with Silas and Timothy, has given the church an example to live by.  Paul is encouraging the believers to do what he says AND does.  That is a bold declaration.  How can Paul be so bold?

As I have wrestled with this text, I believe that what I see is Paul’s invitation to imitate is deeper than just action.  I believe Paul’s call is to love and follow Jesus as he loves and follows Jesus.  When we put our full selves behind seeking the Lord, I am convinced that obeying Him becomes a passionate joy and not an effort of obligation. 

Paul invites us to work.  We are called to serve and to work to minister and further the Gospel.  It is indeed a command, but it is a command that follows the greatest command…to love the Lord you God. 

May we love the Lord and passionately follow him that we too can say…”Follow me as I follow Christ.”

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