In a passage that I’ve always been suspicious about, Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Doesn’t it seem a bit arrogant to say, “imitate me”? After all, aren’t we supposed to be humble and not think too much of ourselves?
Now as I think back on my life, virtually every healthy habit I now have is something that I saw in someone else and then I imitated it. I learned how to welcome people into my home from my mom, I learned how to take a weekly date night from a missionary in Mexico City, I learned how to speak a daily blessing over our kids from the pastor at my previous church, and I learned about scheduling one-on-one time with my kids from a friend with older children.
Each of those practices deeply marks who I am today and the kind of family I have, and I’m so grateful for them. All I did was imitate others – I didn’t come up with any of those practices myself. So whether they had the clarity to say it out loud or not, each of these mentors implicitly said to me, “Imitate the good you see in me.”
And the other thing about those practices is that they are indeed practices. We learn them by imitating others, but then we have to make them into patterns if they are really going to shape our lives. That’s why I found the above practices (amongst others)so easy to imitate – I witnessed them consistently in those mentors’ lives. They did them all the time. As a surprising study by Google points out, one of the greatest attributes of leadership is predictability. Good leaders have predictable patterns of life.
Good leaders also have lives worth imitating. Do you?