I've been reflecting a great deal lately on something I read in Erwin McManus' book, Soul Cravings. As McManus writes about the God-given desire we have to live out a destiny, he makes this statement: "...whatever you choose to become is what you begin to call others to. Remember, Thoreau didn't just go to Walden; he called us all to go there with him."
I only have vague memories of Thoreau from my days in high school English, but I can remember how well he described his experiences at Walden Pond. As he detailed the simplicity of his life and time there, I remember feeling a sense inside of me that my life was too complicated and that I could learn from observing Thoreau. Whether he realized it or not, Thoreau was setting himself up as a model and an example to be followed.
As Jesus went to Jerusalem and approached his final hour on earth, he also called people to follow his example. Jesus clearly understood that what he said and did was a model laid down for his followers. At one point during his final week, he got down on his knees and performed the servant's task of washing his disciples feet. When he had finished this humble act, he got up and said, "As I have done for you, so you should do for one another." Jesus was confidently calling us to follow his example of love.
We may not think of ourselves as being very much like Jesus, or even Thoreau for that matter, but this simple truth remains: we are also calling people to follow us. Whether we know it or not, people are watching us and taking cues from our behavior. It may be a co-worker, a child, or our spouse, but they are all learning how live by what they see us doing. And this provokes a very deep question for me, as McManus asked as well, "Who am I becoming?" What are the things that I am passionate about and around which I am centering my life? Because as I give myself to different pursuits, I become a certain kind of person. And so the question I ask is, am I becoming the kind of person I would like others to emulate? Would I be proud if my two daughters grew up to be just like their father? In some ways, yes, but in many others, no.
Who are you becoming? If we want to know who we are becoming, the best way to answer that question is probably to look at who in our world are we following. Are we modeling our life after the world around us, or Thoreau, or Jesus?
May you become more and more the person God created you to be, and may you find in that pursuit, you are becoming more like His Son.