Paul writes this as he admonishes the Christians in Philippi to press on toward the goal for the prize.
He writes these words because he knows that there are times when our faith wavers. We might get distracted by our daily cares. We easily worry about our safety, social networks, work, and finances. Moving our eyes away from the goal is not difficult. We face different obstacles and it can be hard for us to keep on the correct course. Paul knows that solid relationships can help keep us grounded.
This past Sunday night we were in membership class. There I told them that my hope is for everyone in our church to be able to concretely answer these two questions: “Who is discipling me?” And “Who am I discipling?” This is because we are all called to be disciple making disciples. If we want to be called Christians, then discipleship isn’t optional.
When Paul urges the Philippians to imitate him, he is urging them to be his disciples. And in our church we have plenty of people to imitate. One person that I desire to imitate more is Helen Chandler.
On Monday afternoon I visited her at Mary Free Bed. I felt a bit bad as I interrupted her devotions, but she seemed genuinely happy to see me. It turns out she will be moving into assisted living. She told me and initially she was really upset about it. But then as she prayed about it she thought, well God, maybe there are people there you want me to win for you.
What an incredible testimony! At 91 Helen has decided that her move to assisted living is an opportunity for God to use her to disciple people who might not otherwise come to know Christ. All of this fills me with a bunch of questions. Who are you imitating? Who is imitating you? Are you living a life worth imitating? What if we all approached our lives with such humility? What if when we experience bad things we think, “Maybe God wants me to witness to someone through this.” Who does God want you to share the gospel with?
Helen lives a life worth imitating. I pray you do too.