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  • Shawn Thornton

Imitating, Not Impersonating

Monday - March 28th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 5:1-17


Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do,

because you are his dear children.

Ephesians 5:1 NLT

I loved to see comedian and impersonator Rich Little on TV as a kid. He showed up a lot on variety shows of the 1970s (like Sonny & Cher and The Carol Burnett Show). He mastered impersonations of President Richard Nixon, John Wayne, and Johnny Carson. While these became his prominent people to impersonate, Little was known as the "man of a thousand voices." He was the best in his field. Rich Little could quickly switch from one famous person to another. He mesmerized many with his impersonations - including me.

Since moving to California, I have had the chance to meet a few comedians who do impersonations. I've learned from them that impersonating someone exaggerates three or four characteristics or mannerisms. It does not involve trying to duplicate everything about the person being copied exactly. Instead, good impersonators pick those three or four things, and then they get good at them and take them to an extreme.

A comedian once told me the goal is not imitating another person but impersonating them. They said the difference lies in those three or four things you exaggerate rather than an attempt to imitate every characteristic. Impersonation, while flattering, conveys a fun-loving mockery of the subject. Imitation seeks to emulate them with serious adherence to detail.

The Apostle Paul calls on the believers at Ephesus to imitate God. Like the Ephesian believers, we are encouraged to do more than impersonate a few obvious characteristics of God. We are called to imitate Him. The more we get to know Him, how He views the world, how He loves, and what He values, the more we can reflect Him to others.

While impersonators like Rich Little don't impersonate others in everything they do, God tells us to imitate Him in "everything we do." Our lives are to be a living reflection of God's character and love - not just part of our lives, but all of our lives.

Are you seeking to know God so well that you can imitate Him as you live your life? Our world needs to see God in and through us.

So others can see God in us, we are to imitate Him in everything we do rather than impersonate him in a few ways.


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