Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
At first read the admonition of Paul to the church in Corinth to follow his example seems a bit proud, but the end of the sentence is key. He is following the example of Christ. Paul understood that it can be helpful to have a personal example that we interact with in the flesh to help us along our way. I found several people to be a huge help to me. They didn’t necessarily teach me with their words but their characters spoke volumes. One particular elderly couple was an inspiration to me with their kindness and gentle spirits. I felt so blessed that my children were able to see them at church on a regular basis.
I am often suspicious of people who talk a big talk about their relationship with God and others. When I hear someone say, “I would do anything for my kids,” I know right away that this isn’t the case. People who sacrifice for their children are focused on their children and too busy doing to be spouting off about a hypothetical situation when they might “do anything.” Similarly, I am skeptical of people who go on about how much they want to serve God. I look for people who have a loving heart and are willing to sacrifice in real ways to help others. They are the ones I want to learn from.
Paul had every right to say, “Follow my example.” He suffered and endured and gave his all for the Gospel.