|Volume 21 Number 5 May 2019||
Mark N. Posey
One’s example is powerful! We learn, listen and live by example. People copy what they see others doing. Notice two illustrations. In the 1934 film, It Happened One Night, Clark Gable removed his shirt and he wasn’t wearing an undershirt! Every man wore an undershirt! It is said that the sale of undershirts in the United States dropped by 75% as a result. People copy.
The makers of the 1982 film E.T. approached the confectionary maker Mars about having M&Ms used in the film. Mars, for some reason, said “No.” So, the film makers went to Hershey’s. The result was that E.T. ate Hershey’s Reece’s Pieces, which were relatively unknown at the time, but sales went through the roof. People copy.
Notice Great Bible examples: Abraham had great faith (Romans 4:20), Joseph was great in forgiving (Genesis 50:20), Moses was a great leader (Exodus 14), David was great at courage (1 Samuel 17) and Jesus is our perfect example (2 Corinthians 5:21). Notice seven Habits of highly effective Christians (1 Timothy 4:12-16).
Thomas Jefferson, in writing to John Adams once said, “As Christians, we must realize the world is judging Christianity by us!”
in Times of Trouble
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice. (Philippians 1:12-18)
During Paul’s imprisonment, there were many things that he could have spent his time considering. He could have worried about his situation, grown depressed over why these things were happening to him or grown angry at the unfairness of being imprisoned simply because he proclaimed the Truth. Instead of any of these things, he rejoiced because, through his imprisonment, the Gospel of Christ was being proclaimed in every corner of Rome.
The brethren were bolder in proclaiming the Word. Even those who did not accept the truth of Christ and were only speaking with ill will were talking about it. Either way, Christ was being proclaimed.
We need to remember that the times when it seems we are going through the most are when our proclamations of the Gospel have the greatest effect. The world watches the measure of our faith far more in times of trouble than when all is well. Therefore, we should be like Paul and rejoice—even in times of trouble—that the opportunity is present to bring glory to our Savior in His service.