We’re All Models
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
On those few occasions when I’ve purchased some piece of exercise equipment after watching a commercial, it’s because I’ve bought into the ideal of fitness presented by the paid model or actor. I look at myself and I look at the ridiculously fit guy in the commercial, and I want to look like him, so I buy the thing that then sits in the corner of the basement until I sell it at a garage sale three years later. It was an effective advertisement though, because it showed me something better than myself that I wanted to be. If the commercial had portrayed an overweight, middle-aged, balding man instead, I’d never have bought the product.
Paul used this idea in today’s passage. He wasn’t talking about commercials or promotional campaigns, but he did refer to the Corinthian Christians in the metaphor of letters, written from Christ and delivered by Paul. He said that they were the representation of Jesus’ work here on Earth. As such, they stood as the evidence of Christianity to the surrounding world. The Corinthian’s neighbors would observe their lives and decide if they too wanted to follow Jesus or not. As Christ had worked in their lives, the transformation would be visible to all and those in need would be attracted.
Alcoholics anonymous operates on a similar principle. You won’t see commercials or advertisements for AA, because they’ve adopted a principle of attraction instead of promotion, meaning that the evidence of a changed life is all that is required to invite the one seeking recovery. If you want what we have, come join us.
Paul said it should be the same with our faith. Our lives stand as a testament to what we believe. The question is, do our words and actions attract or repel others from Christianity? As followers of Christ, we should be radically transformed by him. We don’t need to run a promotional campaign. Others should just be able to look at what Jesus has done for us and say, I want that in my life. Whether we like it or not, if we call ourselves Christians, we are all – for good or bad – models for him.