You, Be Like Jesus

Two brothers, Kevin and Ryan, were waiting for breakfast one Saturday morning. As their mother was preparing some pancakes, the boys began to argue loudly over who would get the first one from the griddle. Their mom thought she saw an opportunity for a moral lesson and said, “Boys, if Jesus were sitting here, he would say: “Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.” Seven year-old Kevin immediately turned to his five-year old brother and said, “Okay, Ryan, you be Jesus.”

Friends, the world would be a very easy place to live if all the people around us tried to “be Jesus.” Unfortunately, no one on our planet acts completely like Jesus, and the actions of many folks are very contrary to what He would do. The same kind of selfishness that was evident in seven year-old Kevin dominates many lives. It is usually not the first pancake, however, that they crave. A lot of pushing, shoving, lying, and cheating occurs as people try to move ahead in their careers, acquire greater wealth, and define relationships on their terms. In reality, the world is a very tough place to live.

Yet the instructions God gives us echo Kevin’s words to his five-year old brother: “you be Jesus.” The Lord calls those of us who are Christians to demonstrate the same attitudes as He did when He lived on earth 2,000 years ago. Now, because Jesus is God the Son, there are things He did which would not be appropriate for us to attempt to imitate. For example, it would be wrong to be like Jesus and have others bow down and worship us, yet we are called to imitate Jesus’ character. The holiness, humility, love, righteousness, selflessness, and compassion which flowed from His soul are characteristics we should seek to cultivate in our own lives.

In Philippians 2:5, God tells us (through the Apostle Paul) “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Immediately preceding this statement, Paul instructs his readers to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit...Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) Then after telling them (and us) to be like Jesus, Paul goes on to explain the sacrificial, selfless love that caused the eternal Son to God to give up His position in heaven to come to earth so He could die on the cross as our Savior.

Friend, does someone else in your family want the first pancake? Is there a family member or friend in the nursing home who is feeling lonely? Is there a couple in your neighborhood who cannot afford to buy adequate clothing for their children? Is there a person at work or school whom others are always giving a hard time? Is there someone you know who is struggling with guilt or who thinks life is empty and meaningless? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then “you be Jesus.” Ask God to enable you to act, think, and speak in a way which will cause the people around you see the light of Christ shining through you.

Rev. Dan Erickson, Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church
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Dan Erickson