We are all certainly very grateful for the good, helpful examples that people have shown in their lives and left behind for our encouragement. These examples have often encouraged, comforted, and uplifted us and have been so helpful in our lives! Thank God that these people existed and that they still exist today! It is worthwhile to remember the good examples of our fathers and forefathers, to look at their end, and to follow the examples of their faith and life.
These examples are also presented to us in Scripture. Let us first think of Abraham, the father of faith. The Bible says that he reached a great age and never weakened in his faith. In Romans 4:20-22, we read: “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’”
This man of faith lived many years ago, but his life’s example still speaks today. Abraham had devout servants, and his son Isaac was also a man of faith. We read of him, that “he went out to meditate in the field in the evening” (see Genesis 24:63). This was certainly due to the power of his father’s good example! May we too set such effective examples!
I have also been able to experience the power of good examples in my life. As a young person, for example, I came to the apartment of a pastor’s family. This apartment was cramped, and they had to take in some displaced relatives. They themselves slept in a corner of their kitchen. The example of these people impressed me deeply. Unexpectedly, the good example of this pastor had also had an effect on the village’s youth. The only son of this servant of God met his former school friends after several decades, and they told him, among other things: “We still remember your father, who had become known throughout the village because of his exemplary character, and who also made a great impression on us as young people.”
It simply cannot be denied that good examples give a profound message and have a powerful effect. A sister wrote about three special “memorials” that God had placed in her life and for which she was truly grateful. She was referring to the lives of three people in whose household she was privileged to learn many things. One she called a “disciple of love;” the other she described as a “disciple of faith,” and the third as a “disciple of sanctification.” She was especially impressed by the power of their faith and prayer. The power of their good examples allowed them not to be forgotten. We can be truly grateful for such “living memorials” in our lives. “The memory of the righteous is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7).
Anyone familiar with Hebrews chapter 11 knows of the list of faith heroes who led exemplary lives. For example, Abel received the clear testimony from God that he was righteous. We read of Enoch that he pleased God and lived a godly life until his death. We read of Noah who lived a godly life and was blameless in his day. During his lifetime, the people were very wicked. This directs us to think about the cost that was associated with his blameless life.
Even today, an exemplary life comes with certain costs. It includes the cost of seclusion, abstinence, obedience, a firm heart and faith, faithfulness to God, and active prayer. Noah honored God by his faith, since one command from God was enough to build an ark to save his household, even though there was no body of water nearby to float the ark. He found favor with God and survived the flood along with his family. God rewarded him for his obedience!
Many more people of faith are listed, including Moses. Of his faith, we read that he chose to suffer the tribulations with the people of God rather than have the temporary pleasures of sin. He considered the disgrace of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he was mindful of the reward. By faith he left Egypt and did not fear the king’s wrath, for he clung to the One he did not see as if he saw Him, Christ.
Thank God that individuals of faith live among us even today. They are people whose lives bear witness to faith, faithfulness, sacrifice, devotion, and sanctification! May we also be such people! Therefore, following the example of our Lord, let us be careful to set good examples. They are very necessary. Jesus says: “A disciple is not above his teacher; but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). May the Lord help us!
Friedrich Krebs, Edmonton (CA)