Role Models

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“Do not mix with drunkards and gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty. Too much sleep clothes a person with rags. Listen to your father, who gave you life and don’t despise your mother’s experience when she is old” (Prov. 23:20-22).

Role Models#1Solomon tells us who we follow makes a difference in our lives. He tells us that role models who are immoral, drinkers, drunkards, drug users and gluttons lead to poverty. Poverty of life, soul and even financial. One who loves to sleep lacks the drive to be industrious and accomplish anything worthwhile. Success is always fleeting. Why would we take advice on how to invest successfully from a bankrupt financial adviser? Why follow one whose life is impoverished because of addiction to drink or drugs? Why listen to a person on marriage who has been divorced multiple times? Why imitate one who sleeps a little here and a lot there and is always in rags? Always playing the victim that he never gets a break? His house is always in ruins.

I love to read about people who have risen from the trials of adversity to great accomplishments. Those who are successful are not always among the wealthy. They are accomplished in life because they discipline themselves to sacrifice for what they desired. No breaks, no hand-outs, no short-cuts just refusal to quit and engage in self-indulgence and self-pity. Reading about their lives, struggles and victories tells me I can overcome as well.

Role Model #2As a boy growing up I loved baseball. I loved the old Yankees: Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. No one was better than the Pride of the Yankees, Lou Gherig. I am also a Dallas Cowboy fan.  “And, Yes, it was a catch :).” I have read about Tom Landry and Roger Staubauch. I also greatly admire Tony Dungy, though he is not a Dallas Cowboy. His books on Mentoring and Marriage are great. He helps young men become real men. Golf is a game I love. Oh for the chance to play with Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer. And, even on a good day with Tim Jennings. John Wooden was may be the greatest coach to ever live. Today Mike Krzyzewski is tops. Being very novice at playing the guitar, I have always wanted to play like Chet Atkins and Roy Clark. Zig Ziglar may be the best in his field as a motivator. His life was impeccable too. His wall of gratitude inspiring. All of these men are successful. Simple men who became great. They have great stories about life.

Role models#3Others are even more special to me. Among those who were my role models who preach were my Dad, Joe Fitch, Dan Shipley and Dee Bowman. Oh, if I could just be the Bible students they are and then preach like them. Could it get any better? The best thing about these men is they live what they preach. They listen and advise. They set the example of how the work and life was to be done.

Yes, I love Paul but Barnabas is the man who is my role model. He encourages others, gives others second chances and helps them mature. Andrew motivates me too. He was Simon Peter’s brother. Not everybody could be Peter’s brother. While everybody was counting the money to feed the 5,000 Andrew was out looking for a boy with a sack lunch the Lord could turn into a fabulous meal, with left overs to boot.

Then are also many women who are worthy of being role models. Solomon says, “do not despise your mother’s experience when she is old.” A mother’s love and long experience are invaluable. I have a great mother. Oh, how she sacrificed for us four kids! When Dad made little or nothing we never knew it and oh how she admires my Dad. You may not believe this, but she will not argue with him. She won’t. Her experience and love are such a role model for men. My wife is a great role model for younger women and her own children and grandchildren. She is also my rock.

But I also admire Eve, the first mother. Wow! That had to be hard. How do you do it the very first time? There is no one to learn from. Consider Sarah, she called Abraham lord when she may have felt like cutting his head off. She had such respect for him. Mary, the mother of Jesus, for nine months carried and then gave earthly life to the Savior of the world. Talk about a task, much less being pregnant not having known a man. Awesome!

It may not be surprising that some of my role models are wives of the men who are my role models. Their love, wisdom and experience is invaluable. All these women have at one time or another treated me like their own son. They listened to me. They put up with me. They let me impose on their lives so I could use their husbands. Women like Norma Bowman, Wilma Shipley and Laverne Fitch. I have a little of each one in my life. I wish you could know them. If their husbands are good, they are even better. Then, there is Marlene Davis, the wife of Darrell Davis who served the Campbell Road congregation for 30 years as an elder. Darrell is who Darrell is because of Marlene. She is wise, calming and loving. Her advice is worthy of listening to. I do. She keeps me balanced. I can trust her. A few years ago I found one woman I had been missing for years. Her husband is one of my later role models, Paul Earnhart. But, his Wilma is something special. A couple of years Paul and I were on a lectureship together. They rode with me all week. Each night Wilma was so encouraging and uplifting. She made me feel like we had known each other for years. She made me feel like I was as good as Paul. I know I am not but it sure felt good to feel like it. She is loving and wise. She is why Paul is so good. I am so glad God brought us together.

Why all this? We are going to become somebody. Our role models play a huge part in determining who and what we will become. It is just as easy to choose good role models as to choose bad. The consequences are drastically different though. Popeye said, “I Y’am what I Y’am.” What I am, and what you are, is a little bit of whoever it is that is your role model. We do not just stand on the shoulders of others. We are part of others and others are part of us too.

Good role models are important. So do not chose those who lead to poverty and rags as your role model. Choose those who will help you be successful in every area of life. It sure makes life more enjoyable!

For all who are my role models, Thanks! I need you!

by Rickie Jenkins