By Grant Crawford. Notes from our weekly staff meeting compiled by Sabine Mahabeer.
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you (…).” 2 Thess. 3:6-7 ESV
Setting an example worth imitating
Although this text deals with idleness, entitlement and laziness, Paul approaches the topic of friendships and how they affect our own personal life from an unique angle. Instead of just telling people what not to do, he encourages them to, not only listen to what he preaches, but to imitate his example of a living a Christian life.
Paul raises the strong idea, in encouraging others to imitate him, that the people we spend time with influence us in one way or another. It is so essential to be aware of who we are spending the vast majority of our life with.
Imitation in community
This brings up the issue of why God sets us in a family. This text encourages us to be linked together in community and team. We need to have fathers and mothers who are good examples of Jesus worth imitating.
If this is God’s design, it begs the question: What does it mean to be a team player?
“Team” could be explaining by observing a group of people standing together at a bus stop. Could we consider this group of people a “team” simply because they are standing together, in the same place, at the same time, eager to go in the same direction? Of course not. Even if this group was all dressed in the same uniform we still wouldn’t consider them much of a team.
Conforming to one another, cooperating and communicating with one another does not make a team.
Team members care about each other. Team members watch out for each other. Team members lay down their personal dreams for the greater dream. They lose themselves in others for the cause of something greater than themselves.
Who do you imitate?
Paul wanted to live this kind of an example even though he was entitled not to. We can be encouraged to take a closer look at whose lives we allow to impact ours in the greater context of church family and team.
Take some time to consider who your greatest influencers are. Who are you walking with? Who are you copying?
Feature image acknowledgment: 1ms.net