The power of setting a good example …
Mark Twain once quipped, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
Setting a good example raises the bar of possibility — and thus, expectation — for us all, and for those who really don’t want to try, it can be annoying.
But for others, a good example is inspiring, challenging, motivating, and sometimes even life-changing!
For many years the coastal town of Monterey, California was a pelican’s paradise. As fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the offal to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. However, eventually the offal was also utilized, meaning there were no longer free and easy snacks for the pelicans. When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around and grew gaunt and thin. Many even starved to death! They had forgotten how to fish for themselves. The problem was solved by importing new pelicans from the south, birds accustomed to foraging for themselves. They were placed among their starving cousins, and the newcomers immediately started catching fish. Before long the hungry pelicans followed suit, ending the famine.
Having a good example is important to our development as human beings and disciples of Jesus Christ, and setting a good example is important to our influence in the lives of others. Look closely at how example plays a part in exhortations in scripture …
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” Proverbs 22:6.
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity,” 1 Timothy 4:12.
“In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching,” Titus 2:6-7.
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world,” 1 Peter 2:12.
From children, we need good examples in our lives as we grow into adulthood, and whether we’re parents, young adults, or mature adults, we need to be setting good examples for others.
We rub off on each other!
Is the influence of your life a good example for others? Are the influences you allow into your life good examples for you?