Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sheep and Shepherds

1 Corinthians 4:14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Since the Corinthians are so apt to lift up Paul and Apollos, Paul teaches them that they don't have anything that the Corinthians already have. Then he proceeds to tell them what being a true apostle is like. It is not a glamourous life as they are in his words, "treated like the scum of the earth."

He adds, "To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless."

Then he closes by reaching out in a pastoral way. He lifts up the special relationship he has in bringing them to Christ. He likens it to being their father. And then he says, "imitate me". A pretty bold statement. He is saying in effect,"If are really interested in following me, then imitate my way of life in Christ." Paul shows how his life conforms to Christ when he says, "when we are cursed we bless", "when we are persecuted, we endure it", and finally, "when we are slandered we answer kindly." Does this sound familiar? This is almost word for word from the Sermon on the Mount?

Do you have someone in your life worth imitating? Of course there are no perfect people, but is there is someone you desire to become more like because of how they live their life? Ideally we would all be imitating someone, and we would have someone imitating us as we imitate Christ. We would look like a sheep from the front and a shepherd from behind.

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