I want to be like ?

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthinas 11:1 NIV)

 

Baseball was king, when I was a kid.  At least in my neighborhood.  Until I was 10 we lived in a suburb just North of Dayton, Ohio.  While not in Cincinnati. it was deep in what was then known as Big Red Machine Country.   It was the days of Rose, Bench, Perez and Morgan.  It was a time when going to the play offs drew a yawn because that’s what we always did, and they expected to go to the World Series.  Not just go, but win.    Excuse me while I wipe a tear from my eye.

All of that is to say when the kids in  my neighborhood got together to play, we played baseball more than anything else. Bu tiwasn’t enough to simply play baseball. You had to be your favorite player.  And who got to be who was a game of survival of the fittest.  So the Alpha kids were always Pete, Johnny, Tony and Little Joe or Davy Concepcion.  I was usually Bill Plummer. (older Reds fans will get that joke)

But every now and then I got to move up in the ranks, especially if the bigger kids couldn’t play. Once in a while, I got to be Tony Perez, or Joe Morgan.  And it wasn’t enough to say that’s who you were.  You emulated everything about them. If you were Joe Morgan you had to do that weird elbow flap thing he did when he was at bat.  You would adopt Johnny bench’s stance, or how he crouched.  Only the kid who was Pete Rose could slide head first, or bet the trifecta at the dog track.

We mimicked our heroes because we wanted to be like them.  Of course, we were simply doing what every kid has done when they play. You act like your hero.  Anyone remember the “I want to be like Mike”  ads from the nineties? If you played basketball you wanted to be like Michael Jordan. You wore your Air Jordans, if you could afford them, wore your Bulls Jersey and tried to dunk with your tongue hanging out.

Who should you be like? Last week there was a trend in social media be like “insert name here”  The idea was you put your name in, the app scanned your profile and put together a little post that went something like this;  This is Bill. Bill doesn’t take pictures of every meal he eats and post them. Bill knows people don’t care.   Be like Bill.   And it came with a little stick figure.

After having about a hundred of these go across my feed I posted this

This is Jesus
Jesus died for your sins and rose again that you might have an abundant life
Jesus.loved everyone and asked us to feed the hungry, visit the prisoner, clothe the naked, care for the least.

Be like Jesus

 
  I thought it a nice pastoral thing to do. Of course we all want to be like Jesus. Don’t we?  Lately I’ve wondered how true the reality of this is. In theory I want to be like Jesus and be more Christlike. But am I willing to imitate Him? Live like Him?  In order to really be like Jesus it means more than just being loving, as nice as that is.
   It means being willing to take up my cross.  It means to die to an old way of life that far too often has a strong grip on me. It means putting myself in a place of suffering so that other’s might experience healing. It means having the courage to overturn the money changers tables. Having a faith that believes the storms will calm if I call to them. It means believing that Jesus can bring new life to dead hearts. Yes there is no doubt being like Jesus means life and weddings at Cana, laughter with my closest friends and “really making a difference in the world.” But it also means nails, a crown of thorns and a cross.
   But as hard as it may sound, in the end, I do want to be like Jesus. Do you? His life is the one you were born to live. It is His spirit that moves within you. Have the courage to be like Jesus.  Amen
In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><
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