1 Corinthians 4:15-16 – For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (NKJV)
When I was a young amateur guitarist, I would go to a lounge on a military base in Toronto to sit in ("jam", as we called it) with a bunch of local jazz musicians. I was the kid in the band, and with my limited knowledge, I could, at best, provide only a solid rhythm background, with simple forms of chords.
One evening as we were packing up, the base player in the group — a tall Scottish chap whom I always admired — came up to me and said, "Lad, you've got a good sense of rhythm, but you need to expand your knowledge of chords. Get yourself a good guitar teacher."
Following his advice, I signed up for guitar lessons at a well-known music studio and started receiving instructions from an accomplished guitarist who often provided backup for performers on Canadian television network shows.
Wow! What a program he put me through! He changed my whole playing technique, widened my vocabulary of chords, and showed me useful progressions for accompaniment. He was a hard taskmaster and expected me to have my previous lesson practiced up to standard before he would take me further. As a result of his teaching, I was able then to backup a popular vocal group and play rhythm guitar in a 21-piece orchestra.
Recently, one of my grandsons has taken up the bass guitar. I wasn't able to help him much because I am pretty rusty on bass. But like the Scottish fellow did for me in the past, I encouraged him to seek out a good teacher, which he did. And now, I have the thrill of seeing him playing in our church band.
Throughout my walk as a Christian, I've found myself imitating pastors and other Christian leaders, just as I did with my music teachers. The apostle Paul was a strict teacher and demanded much from his followers. But importantly, he emphasized, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV) I believe that my mentors also imitated theirs, as we should do also, being sure, of course, that their spiritual life is productive. Will we also be able to encourage others to imitate us?
Prayer: Father, we thank You for those in the past whom we have been able to imitate with confidence. May we look back with gratitude for those whom You have brought into our lives, to enrich us in practical and spiritual ways. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.