The lead singer of our band called out the familiar Beatles tune. I immediately launched into the infectious lead guitar line that permeates the entire song. I was gigging in a cover band, performing songs that the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other rock and roll acts of the sixties and seventies. To the best of our abilities, we sought to recreate the nuances of the songs, even using some of the same types of musical instruments and electronic effects that were used in that fabled era. It was our intention and hope, of course, that our audience would think they were hearing the original.
Oscar Wilde stated, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Although this statement may seem to denigrate the imitator, there is an element of truth. Whether it is in a cover band, a writer, or an artist, we do imitate and emulate those whom we admire. In so doing, we learn from the masters and hopefully create our own style. Is there a spiritual parallel? Should we emulate our pastors? Should we learn to preach sermons like the Apostles Paul and Peter?
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul wrote this passage to encourage believers in the city of Philippi. Lest we may think that Paul was issuing a vainglorious statement, he clarifies and defines his objective in another letter.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul wanted others to emulate him in the same manner that He surrendered his entire identity to be like His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wanted to decrease so that Jesus would increase. Like performing in a cover band, should we emulate our spiritual heroes, like Paul and other great saints of the faith? Yes, but only when we acknowledge that in doing so, we are emulating the true original, Jesus Christ. He is totally God, totally Man, and the Creator of the universe.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.