February 5, 2021

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1
Were you one of those students who could do a good impersonation of your teachers? I had a few classmates who excelled at the art of imitation. They had it down: the voice, the mannerisms and facial expressions were right on the mark! They sounded more like the teacher than the teacher! Maybe you enjoy some of the comedians who effectively imitate a politician or other famous figure. Not only is it good to laugh…they say imitation is the highest form of flattery!

You’ll notice I’ve been reflecting on Ephesians for the past couple of weeks. This will be our last verse from that epistle…and it’s a good one! This verse invites us to imitate God! It encourages us to take literally Jesus’ invitation to his disciples when he said, “follow me.” To follow Jesus is to do as he said, and do as he did, “to have the very mind of Christ” as a verse in Philippians puts it. We believe the love of God is evident and available to the world in Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us so that we can give that love to others. That’s what sacrificial love does, it gives itself away to bless the other.
As children created in God’s very image and deeply loved by God, we are asked to share that love with others. We do so by offering our gifts and care, our prayers and time, our efforts and talents to benefit and bless them. Every call you make, card you send, dessert you give, gift you offer, smile or prayer you offer does that. A meaningful and joyful life is made not by means of accumulating, but by means of giving. Keep following in the way of Jesus and you’ll find lots of ways to help, heal, give and serve neighbors in need.  
In response to your great and saving love, dear God, I give you thanks and praise; help me to do what I can to share your saving love with others as a fragrant offering to you. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com