There seems to be a dearth of great, let alone good, role models. Growing up in the ’50s and 60’s we mostly admired and respected those in authority. They earned it. We gave it. Teachers taught. Preachers preached. Police policed. Politicians seemed more polite and dignified then. I still like Ike!
When I was 3, I ran away from home wanting to get some particular toy from Woolworths 5 & 10 up the street and around the corner. Something my mother wouldn’t let me have. Meany. I’ll show her! Then the police found me (minus that gizmo that I couldn’t live without) and drove me home after giving me an ice cream cone. Guess it goes to show you that crime does pay!
I loved my teachers. They were special. Beginning in Kindergarten with Miss Ford. Junior High teacher Mr. Rooney instilled in me a love of geography and travel. Mr. Gordon in Senior High passed on his love of literature my way. Culminating with evangelical biblical scholar Bruce Metzger at Princeton Seminary.
Disrespect them when they’re trying to help me grow? Are you kidding? How about the general tone today? Well, you know.
But I do have a great role model for you. No, not me. But thanks for asking! Or did you? Ezra’s my man. Can hardly go wrong if you’re following in his footsteps.
What am I looking at? Ezra chapter 7 in the Old Testament–‘this Ezra…was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given…for the hand of the Lord his God was on him…For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel’ (vs.6,10).
He’s a scribe. A religious teacher’s job pivots on being clued in with God’s Word. He’s savvy and skilled. Takes his job seriously. No skimming the surface by speedreading or sloughing off with extended lunch breaks. Ezra’s all in for the Lord. Sounds like a hint, doesn’t it? How am I doing? Are you sold out for Jesus? Only on good days? When blessings flow your way? But what if…
Again, what Ezra works hard at is God’s Word. It’s the Lord’s gift to each generation of those who seek Him. Digging in, mining its gems and minerals. Never comes without some good old-fashioned grit and determination. ‘For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord…’ (Ezra 7:10). Sets his heart. Makes a commitment. Promises are given to his Lord. To delve deeper. And then even more. Have we?
Not just study…study…study. Makes for quite the dull boy. No. ‘…and to do it…’ (v.10). You know about faith without works being dead as a doornail. Well, it is and they are. Waste of God’s time and yours not to put what you know into action. Be Jesus’ ‘A-OK’ follower–‘Action-Oriented Kind’. That was Ezra.
There’s more. To study…do…and now share. ‘…and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel’ (v.10). Pass it on! Don’t hog all that good news for you and yours. Charity may begin at home but don’t let it hit the brakes there. Get going and let someone else in on the best news ever. That’s what Ezra did.
A great role model? You think?
Thank you, Jesus, that I can be more for you and for others. Amen.