I was reading an article by William Willimon called “Be Imitators of Me,” and came across a striking quote. It was so striking that I had to share it.
He was writing over a text in Philippians where Paul tells the church there to be like him, to imitate him. Mr. Willimon walked his readers through his perspectives in his own life, of how he thought that was arrogant to ask others to be like yourself. He used the example of his preaching class – he hadn’t wanted his students to imitate him. Far from it, he had wanted his students to read many perspectives and leave with their own minds made up. But as he walked through his thoughts on the matter he slowly came to the conclusion that imitation is what we are all called to as Christians. It’s what Jesus demanded, and Paul, trying to be like Jesus, demanded it too.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
It amazes me that it takes people their whole lives to see that Jesus and Paul followed the rabbinic model, but then I remember that I wouldn’t understand this either if it hadn’t been shown to me. Although the author never mentioned anything about a “rabbi”, he did pick up on discipleship – true discipleship – and that’s is the part of the article that caught me.
So go ahead. Imitate me. Demand that my miserable little life be a worthy example. Do me a favor. Don’t let me off the discipleship hook. Insist that I teach by the way I walk rather than merely by the book. Insist that there be a congruency between what I practice and what I profess.
–Willimon, Be Imitators of Me
I read that text and join him in the sentiment. Go ahead. Imitate me. Demand that my miserable little life be a worthy example. Do me a favor. Don’t let me off the discipleship hook.
Peace to you,