Many of us can remember the old ad: Charles Barkley’s face appears and he says, “I’m not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on a basketball court…” I think we all understand the feeling. We want the rewards without the responsibilities. We want to be able to do our own thing without being held accountable. We simply don’t want the pressure of people looking to us to uphold certain values. But like it or not, whether rich and famous or a nobody, we are role models. We have been called to be role models. It’s time we stopped hiding behind our insecurities and accept what God is placing upon all of us. Every parent is a role model to his children. Every child is a role model to his peers. Every employee is a role model to the others. God won’t have it any other way. We are put here to influence others.
A Christian friend once told me that the reason he never puts Christian symbols on his car identifying his faith is that he is afraid he might do something stupid and the Lord would get blamed. I understand that fear completely. It doesn’t just apply to bumper stickers. That is the same thinking that causes many children of God to remain lifelong “undercover Christians.” But my friend evidently never thought of the corresponding opportunity that he might also do something right and God would get the credit. It is that opportunity God places before all of us who have said “yes” to Jesus Christ. He envisions a mighty force of believers scattered here, there and everywhere consistently living out their faith before the world. The thought of His children hiding their relationship to Him is abhorrent. People do not light a lamp only to “put it under a bushel basket. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:15).
This is the way our faith works. It is not just taught. It is also “caught.” It is caught by our children, our marriage partners, our fellow employees. You and I are walking role models all for the goodness, kindness and love of God. Certainly that puts pressure upon us—the best kind of pressure. Nothing can beat the joy of hearing someone say, “It was because of the way you lived that I came to understand how real God is.” That is a very possible opportunity for everyone of us. That is why Jesus commanded us, ’Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Happy modeling!
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship