A DESIRE TO SET AN EXAMPLE
Weird word, example. Say it slowly.
We use it so often, though and just as often, we forget the power of the word itself. I trust that you enjoy etymology (the study of words and their origins) as much as I do, so I’m going to let you in on some interesting facts about that word.
A quick google search tells us that it came primarily from Latin and it means, ultimately, to take out. It’s like taking out of something that we came to receive. This makes the passage above even more intriguing doesn’t it? It’s as if Paul was saying “all of you, join together and live your life based on what you took out of my time with you.”
Paul left an impression, a pattern for them when he was with them; one that he hoped they would actually follow for the rest of their lives. This is something that so many people want to do in our culture. So many are clamoring for influence so that they can make an impact on the world and allow their legacy to live on. But the question is, for what and for who?
Paul wanted his impact to be for something much greater and something much more eternal, he wanted it to be one that impacted two worlds. The current world in which you and I live in today, and the world that is yet to come that is filled with righteousness. He wanted influence, but his desire for influence was so that he could represent someone else. His impact on people was for the purpose of leaving Christ in them and then setting an example of what it looked like to follow Christ. It’s the most morally pure form of desiring influence one could ever aspire to have. He wanted people to follow him as he followed Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Someone were to watch and mimic you (and there are people doing that), what example are you leaving behind? Where would they derive their value from? Where would they search for truth? Where would they seek comfort? Where would they spend they’re time, and how? What kind of screen would they have to filter the world through, if they were to follow your example? What would their focus in life be? What would be their primary pursuit in life?
Would you be comfortable with asking people you influence to “join up in following my example?”
- Your kids are watching you and will imitate you.
- Your boss is watching you and will make decisions that involve you and your patterns.
- Your spouse is watching you and will learn from you while living with you.
- Your parents are watching you and will learn from you. Yes, parents learn from their children.
- Your friends are watching you and will be influenced by you in some way, even if it doesn’t appear so.
Are you comfortable with that right now? Pray. Make necessary changes. Thank Him for your influence. Ask Him to make it eternally worthwhile.