Serving the community since 1970

Pastor's Corner: Emulation

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” I Peter 2:21 I was watching the Heisman trophy presentation on TV the other night. Coach Saban, of the University of Alabama, had two players nominated for the award. It was only the 6th time that two players were nominated from the same team in the prestigious history of the award. Quite an honor for any coach; but it is what he said about the players that I would like us to think about today.

When asked how he felt about the situation he said something remarkably interesting. It went something like this, “Regardless, who wins the award, these two young men from the University of Alabama are both men that any parent would be extremely proud for their children to emulate.” Interesting “to emulate” i.e., to strive to be equal to or to excel above…”

Do you remember who you desired to emulate way back yonder in your youth? Could have been an athlete, an actor, cowboy, coach or influential man or woman in your community. My earliest recollection of emulation was Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs. We lived a short drive from Wrigley field on Chicago’s Northside and my dad was an ardent Cub fan as was I then (and remain so today).

One summer afternoon found my brother and I seated with dad down the third base line right behind the Cubs dugout in the box seats. I will never forget that hot muggy summer afternoon watching my baseball idol up close and personal. Ernie had a unique batting style, hands high and elbow extended upper wards. And it was that style I attempted to emulate… the form I could do the results were NEVER quite the same.

In I Peter 1:21 the Apostle says something emphatically interesting, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…” It is that word example that should grasp our attention. In English it is a rather blasé term and so we might gloss over it…however, in the original language it is a word that takes the meaning of underwriting, or the writing that is placed underneath and used to make an exact copy. What kids call tracing.

Interesting, eh? If we are to emulate someone why not our Savior? Did not Paul challenge us in Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

What if in 2021 God’s children chose to emulate His son by reading the Word, knowing the Word, and following (doing) the Word…. Oh, what a year that would be!

Make 2021 the Year of the Word.

Jim Neal is pastor of the Frist Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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