Be like you.
Okay, that’s the daft hook of the way. Now read on to see why being you is better than being Todd.
What I want to say, is that every once in a while we come across someone who epitomises everything we believe in and aspire to be. They could be a rock star, politician, social organiser, preacher, best friend .. anyone. You see them and you know that if you were you like you want to you to be, you would be them. You know?
For me, Todd White is one of those guys. A guy who really seems to have his relationship with God sorted out. He is secure in his identity. His lifestyle is infectious and he just loves people. He can’t help it. Unashamedly a full on, 100% Jesus nut. He is someone who seems to be able to do the “walking like Jesus” thing breathlessly. I honestly think he might be one of the best role models of what it means to be a Christ follower, and if only I could pull myself together I could .. I could .. I ..
I could be me.
The thing is, Todd was created by God to be Todd and I was created by God to be Alex. No amount of fan-boy-ism, idol worship (let’s call a spade, a spade) will ever change that. If Todd were to try out my life for a day, I wonder if he might feel out of place. Hmm .. I doubt it (he’s just that kinda guy) .. but … Sure, there would probably be a few more Jesus followers in the place at the end of the day and a few more healed hearts, but there would also be a good number less fixed laptops. You see, I am the only piece of the jigsaw puzzle which fits in my spot in the Puzzle of LifeTM. The only piece which matches up exactly with where I work, the guys I play music with and the family l am a part of. The same goes for you.
Todd follows Jesus like Todd. Alex follows (or at least tries to follow) Jesus like Alex. Jesus didn’t say follow Todd/Simo/Rachel/Mark/Sarah, He said “Follow me”. Me being who I am created to be is very different to Todd being who he is created to be.
Todd is so forthright in demonstrating how his life is, not because he wants to set himself up as something great or for us be a clone of him; rather because he has gotten his head around how simple following Christ can be. What he is trying to get across is that following Christ need not be a complicated regime of rules and rituals, rather a relationship between a living Father-like God and us as His children. His prayer for those who go to hear him speak is for God to “make it simple and make it easy”.
The problem is that when our lives go through a difficult patch, when the black dog is nipping at our heels or when we are facing a particular struggle, it’s at these times that our role models slip from being a source of inspiration to an unattainable ideal. This serves only to nudge us deeper into the despair of “I’ll never be that good. I’ll never be like that. I’ll never be any use.”.
This is the problem with comparing ourselves to others. When we compare ourselves with others to make ourselves feel better, or as a yard-stick of something better to strive for – we are saying something like “God got made a mistake when He created me. His plans for me are wrong.”, and that is rubbish. Through the Bible God tells us clearly that He knows the plans He has for us. Plans to give us hope and a future.
Todd is just a guy who seems to have come closer than most to being the person he should be. One could say that he is living proof of what Jesus meant when he said “I have come to give life, and life in all it’s fullness.”. But what about those of us who are still very much a work in progress? What about me?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
There is something about this bible verse which makes me sigh with relief. All the things that wear me out and weigh me down can be taken to Jesus. He swaps them for a yoke and a load which is light and easy to carry. Sure, there is a duty of us on us to learn from him and carry out what He asks of us, but as He says, he is gentle and humble. In Him we find rest for our souls.
From that place of rest, under His tutelage, grow into the person we should always have been. It could be a rock star, politician, social organiser, preacher, best friend ..
When we take up the yoke that Jesus gives us, it fits. The burden is light and the yoke is easy. If we try to become something, or someone, we were not created to be, the yoke will be difficult. It will rub and make us sore. The load will be the wrong weight and the balance will be off. We will be trying to carry a burden which we were never meant to carry.
So, don’t try and be like Todd. Be like the you that God created you to be!