We esteem sumptuous houses. We esteem ease and prosperity. We esteem academic credentials. We esteem opulent facilities (be they religious, recreational, or resort). We esteem exotic accents. We esteem the good-looking, prepossessing, and charming. We esteem popularity, marketability, and superficial fashion. And we invariably strive to imitate what we esteem.
God commends ESTEEMING & IMITATING. But He does not commend any of the stuff mentioned above. In fact, God warns us to be chary about our voracious craving for the dangers referenced above. God says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
God reveals His paradigm for esteeming in 1 Corinthians 12:23, saying, “On those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor.” And God reveals His paradigm for imitating in 2 Thessalonians 3, where He tells us to emulate the suffering servitude of those who are not idle, and those who are not using their pedigree, personality, or prepossessing privileges to indulge in a luxurious life of comfort and ease; but rather we are commanded to imitate those who toil and labor, working night and day, in order that they might not be a burden to anyone. These hard-working, suffering servants, are offering in themselves an example for us to imitate!
So… WHO DO YOU ESTEEM AND IMITATE?
I often hear us talking about how impressed we are with polished, prosperous people, houses, facilities, and programs; and conversely, I don’t hear too much praise being lavished upon people, projects, homes, and endeavors we think less honorable.
So here’s what you gotta do… you gotta find someone the world does not esteem, and you gotta ask yourself if Jesus of Nazareth esteems such a person; and then you gotta imitate that person. For example, a guy named Jim came to our life group a couple of weeks ago, and he told us that we should follow him to a local laundromat to do homeless people’s laundry. That’s it! That’s the kind of thing we should be esteeming and imitating.
You can have plenty of money, and a fancy pedigree if you want …BUT DON’T ESTEEM AND IMITATE SUCH THINGS! …esteem and imitate the less honorable slaves, servants, Nazareth-esque (see John 1:46), uneducated Samaritans and misfits that Jesus anointed for us to esteem and imitate!!!