All of us have known or read about people we can take as role models. For some, it’s a fictional superhero, and for others, it is a historical figure like Abraham Lincoln or Madam Curie. Christians tend to hold up biblical characters like Moses or Esther or Peter or Mary, the mother of Jesus. Holding on to any of those is a ticket to discouragement. That’s because most of us don’t have the tools or opportunity to be an Abraham, Paul, or Peter. However, in the New Testament, we can find biblical role models for us ordinary people to emulate. Here are some examples:
MARY MAGDALENE. This woman had been cured of her disease by Jesus (Luke 8:2), and her association with Christ completely changed her life. Luke 8:1-3 tells us that she and several other women handled the logistics of Christ and the disciples. They funded the group as they traveled, spreading the message. We can enable the spread of the message of Christ through our giving and logistical support.
BARNABAS. We meet Barnabas in Acts 4:36-37, where he sells some property to help needy people. In Acts 9:27, it is Barnabas who brings Paul to the congregation in Jerusalem. Barnabas had to convince the church that Paul had been converted, and they should not be afraid of him. Barnabas was a helper to Paul in his missionary journeys (Acts 11-15). We can be encouragers and help support missionary efforts.
ANDREW. Peter’s brother Andrew brought Peter to Christ (John 1:41-42). When some Greeks sought to see Jesus, it was Andrew who brought them to Him (John 12:20-22). Andrew brought the boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Christ so that He could feed the five thousand. We can bring people to Christ by sharing what He has done for us.
Most of us cannot preach, teach, or be the mother of the Savior. But all of us can do what these “behind the scenes” biblical role models did. We can introduce others to Christ, and we can fund mission works. We can do what Jesus described in Matthew 25:34-40:
“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a wandering stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.”
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:10, “As much as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” This is real Christianity, it is something we can all do, and we have biblical role models to follow.
— John N. Clayton © 2020