Every step you take creates a path for someone to follow.
A pastor is not called to be a template. We have to be careful not to create a culture where people feel obligated to mimic their pastors or any leader in the church. In the past, there has been some of that – certainly not explicitly taught by any pastors that I am aware of but has somehow been assumed.
We need to learn from the centuries of experience provided by our brothers and sisters in the church and in the Bible. A Christian who has David in his bones, Jeremiah in his bloodstream, Paul in his fingertips and Christ in his heart will know how much and how little value to put on His own momentary feelings and the experience of the week. To remain willfully ignorant of Abraham wandering in the desert, the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, David battling the Philistines, Jesus arguing with the Pharisees and Paul writing to the Corinthians is like saying, “I refuse to remember that when I kicked that black dog last week he bit my leg.” If I don’t remember it, in the next fit of anger I will kick him again and get bitten again.
I am a big proponent of the concept that Christianity is more “caught than taught” and that a person’s meaningful involvement in the process is critical to them experiencing the power of the gospel in their lives. This meaningful involvement takes time and persevering love.
You cannot see faith, but you can see the footprints of the faithful. We must leave behind “faithful footprints” for others to follow.
People offend you, irritate you, breathe contempt and malice against you; do not repay them in the same way, but be gentle, meek, and kind, respectful and loving towards those very persons who behave unworthily to you.
Fathers and mothers, do not forget that children learn more by the eye than they do by the ear… Imitation is a far stronger principle with children than memory. What they see has a much stronger effect on their minds than what they are told.
As a tree bringeth forth first leaves, then blossoms and then fruit, so a good Christian ought first to bring forth good thoughts, then good speeches and afterward a godly life, to the honour of God and the good of his children.
We are the bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world are reading, we are the sermons the world is heeding.