“Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:7-8).
Fall Into Lakeside youth assist Bishop Daniel during Sunday morning communion.
This past weekend, I was in Lakeside, Ohio, for the “Fall into Lakeside” Synod Youth Gathering. The theme Scripture verse was Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. Pastor Angela Khabeb from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis did a great job of challenging our young people to live for Jesus, who is indeed the same yesterday, today, and forever. If you’ve ever heard Pastor Khabeb speak then you have been blessed… but also warned about the perils of following her on the stage. She is a powerful and inspiring speaker. Which is why I selected Hebrews 13:7 as my text for Sunday morning’s homily.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life… and imitate their faith. I shared that Jesus often uses the word “disciple” and invites others to follow Him in mission and ministry. St. Paul uses a different word. He uses the word “imitate”. “Imitate me”, he often writes to the new churches that he starts and nurtures. In Hebrews 13:7, the writer encourages us to imitate the faith of our leaders.
I asked the young people gathered in Lakeside to think about someone in their lives who is a follower of Jesus. Not a perfect person, but someone who lives the “Way of Jesus”. Maybe a Mom. Dad. Grandma. Grandpa. Teacher. Coach. Pastor. Are there things they do and say that you could imitate? Are there particular ways that they love God? Are there particular ways that they love and treat other people? Now think of one thing they do that you would like to start doing.
Then I encouraged them to think of someone who looks up to them. Maybe a brother, sister, cousin, or friend. Now think about how you act around them. How do you treat them? How do you treat others when they are around you? What parts of your life do you hope those who look up to you imitate?
And how about you? Are there followers of Jesus in your life that you feel called to imitate? How might you reach out to them? And are there people in your life who may be looking for the opportunity to imitate you? How might you open your life and let them in.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life… and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).