Scripture Lesson – Philippians 3:17–4:1 (NRSV)
17 Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. 41 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
What a powerful invitation Paul gives. Imitate me. Follow in my footsteps.
Do what I do. Say what I say. Mimic my life.
Was Paul without faults? Did he have it all figured out? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding “NO”. So why did Paul put himself out there in terms of being a role-model and example?
Because he was one step further along in the journey than the folks in Philippi. Paul understand that one step further along is all it takes to help another person. As the expression goes, “we are all just beggars pointing out the direction of the bread to other beggars.”
We make it too complicated this idea of discipling others. We wait too long. Think we have to learn so much more. And in the meantime people around us go hungry for the bread of life.
Each person needs a Paul in their life. Someone who is one step ahead and can help us find and keep heading in God’s direction. And all of us need to be a Paul to someone. For us to give what we’ve received.
Almighty Father, Redeemer and Friend, our Guide and Comforter, lead us this day to our Paul who is one step farther along and willing to help us in our journey. And point out to us those we can do the same for.