Following Jesus is a lot like this picture. I usually use stock photos for Lambchow, which I purchase through a service. However, the photo attached to this article was snapped by my daughter Rebekah. My son in law Joel is mowing the yard. Behind him is Asher mimicking his dad with a toy mower. In the background is Eli, Asher’s brother, trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do with his toy mower. Something to notice about the picture, Asher is perfectly in step with his dad.
Here’s why following Jesus is a lot like the picture of Joel and his sons mowing the yard. Some strive to imitate Christ, to follow Him stride for stride. Sure, right now Asher’s mower is a toy. But he is still doing all he can to be like his dad. Eventually, given a few more years of growth and practice, I’m sure that Joel will let him push the big mower around the yard. Some folks are like Eli in their faith walk, standing along the side trying to figure out what to do. Perhaps they tried but couldn’t keep up on their own. Maybe it is simply a matter of age or understanding like it is for Eli. And that is okay because they, like Eli, will grow, can grow, to where they are able to keep up and be like dad. Or, In our case, be like Jesus.
Paul writes in Ephesians, “therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1–2, NASB95) We are all encouraged not only to imitate God and Christ but to also imitate others that are following Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) The point is understanding the goal and walking towards it. We are also to encourage one another in this walk of following and of imitating Jesus Christ.
A few weeks back Asher and Eli participated in a run at a track in Bloomington. Asher enjoys running and easily completed the one lap run with others his own age. Eli, on the other hand, is still not sure what he is supposed to do. During Eli’s race, Asher ran slowly in front and encouraged Eli to chase him. Eli completed his race, but it took the support of his brother to do it. We too need to encourage one another, sometimes by example, sometimes by cheering, but most often by walking/running alongside.
So, that is my encouragement. Seek to imitate Christ, even if our imitation is simply for practice it is still valuable. Secondly, encourage others in their walk. Encourage by example, encourage by cheering others on, and encourage by choosing to walk beside instead of running ahead.