August 31, 2017
Be Like Mike
August 31, 2017
Michael Jordan retired as an NBA basketball player as a Chicago Bull in 1999. In 2001 he returned to the NBA as a Washington Wizard. The Wizards were a so-so team. Because of injuries, Jordan never returned to the form he was as a Chicago Bull, but his presence transformed the team. Because of Jordan’s work ethic and hustle on the court, the other Wizards began to imitate him. Because he always dressed stylishly with a suit and tie, the other Wizards put away their hoodies and swag clothes and also dressed stylishly. They wanted to “be like Mike.” Even after Michael Jordan was at the peak of his fame, people wanted to be like Mike.
As a boy, I wanted to be like Johnny Unitas, quarterback for the former Baltimore Colts. I imitated walking, running, and passing the football like Unitas. I even had high-top football cleats like his. When I was in fourth grade, my dad took my brother and me to see Unitas speak at a banquet in Dickson. Afterward, I got to stand and look up at him as he autographed my Johnny Unitas football card. I wanted to be like Johnny Unitas.
Today, I agree with Paul. I want to imitate Christ (some translators say be an imitator of God). The Michael Jordan and Johnny Unitas of the world are not perfect; Jesus Christ is. When we imitate Christ, Paul says that we live in love as Christ loved us, and we become fragrant sacrificial offerings to God. When I intentionally try to “be like Jesus” during the day, there is a different quality of my life, as I relate to others, as I do what I do. Even when I mess up, shifting my focus to imitate Christ changes the quality of what happens next.
Questions for the Field
- Who did you imitate as a child or teenager?
- What would happen if you imitated Jesus?
Family Field Talk
- Play a guessing game of “Who is this person?” Someone imitate a person and the others guess who the person is.
- What does it look like to imitate Jesus?
Lord, Jesus, please live and dwell within me today such that people see and experience only you. Help me be like you for your sake and for your glory. Transform me into your sacred image. In your gracious name, I pray. Amen