Daily Readings & Thought for May 21st. “… AN EXAMPLE TO IMITATE”
Today, more than ever before, we live in a herd environment, a human herd. Mass advertising in a great variety of media confronts us hour after hour, creating a herd mentality. We reflected on this as we read Paul’s words this morning. He told the Thessalonians that we “give you in ourselves an example to imitate.” [2 Thess. 3 v.9]
What do we imitate? What or who do we take as our examples in life? A parallel question – why do we see them as examples that we feel inclined to imitate?
Bad examples abound today; there are also things which are not specifically bad but there is nothing really worthwhile in them. We need to ask ourselves, ‘ what is spiritually nutritious’ in each thing we watch, read or do?. Paul writes, “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it … that we might not be a burden to you.” [v.7,8]
Are we pulling our weight, doing our share? We live in a drastically changed world to 3 months ago. The coronavirus has bought our lives to a stop. At this time we have opportunity to consider the course of our life. How is our worship to God? How are we caring for our vulnerable loved ones? Today more than ever we need to consider our attitude and what is the outworking of our faith. Soon we will be reading the letter to the Hebrews where it is stated, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” [13 v.7] Believers then did not have the blessing of a Bible to read every day, but, if they had, they would surely have read it in nearly every hour that could be spared from their essential tasks.
But today with so many Bibles available, what part does God’s word take in daily life? One of the smallest “books” in the Bible is the 3rd letter of John. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” [v.11] We cannot physically “see” God but we can – with “the eyes of (our) hearts” [Eph.1 v.18] – see God – using his “living word” which cleanses hearts. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” [Matt. 5 v.8]. All such will be sure to experience the wonderful time described in today’s Isaiah reading, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” [11 v.9]