And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. – 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Over the last few months, I’ve spent some time training a group of people to master the elements of a successful Livestream broadcast for a church in Cincinnati. It’s quite a task and requires a mix of technical and creative skills combined with a sense of timing. In just a few months, I’ve trained myself out of a job and that’s a good thing.
In the verses above, Paul observes that those who had imitated his faith had become a role model to “all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” What an encouragement that must have been to Paul!
Too often we speak of people who have made a decision for Christ instead of those who are growing as disciples of Christ, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).
Recently I have been reading, Knowing God, by J.I. Packer. In the opening chapters, he underscores the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. We can read and learn about God, but becoming the kind of role model described in the verses above takes more. The people in Thessalonica “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” and their lives demonstrated the change.
So, let’s think about our lives. Would anyone describe you or me as a role model?