It started out just like any ordinary hunt. The tall grass tickled my belly as I crept stealthily through the trees. Ignoring the ticks and other gifts left by the deer, I stalked my prey. Silent as the passing clouds, I sat back on my haunches and jutted my vulpine nose into the air. The unmistakable smell of rabbit wafted on the summer breeze.
Licking my lips, I began the chase. There were three of them, all with bright yellow fur, which meant they didn’t have the slightest chance of camouflage. Giggling uncontrollably, the older two made a mad dash for the oak tree, leaving the four-year-old far behind and vulnerable to my clutches. He panicked as I moved in for the kill, nipping at his heels.
And then my cell phone rang. Well, this was awkward.
I didn’t want to relinquish my role as the fox. One advantage of being a fox is that everyone operates on the assumption that you are clever. You could be as dumb as a post, but wave your bushy red tail in the air, and next thing you know you receive an honorary degree from Harvard. Being a fox commands great respect, a foreign feeling to most parents.
The phone was still ringing as I hesitated. Although I have seen plenty of foxes in my lifetime, I have yet to see one chatting on the phone. Conflicted, I answered the phone, much to the chagrin of my kids. It was my husband Dave, and after I explained my dilemma, he played right along. “This is the rabbits’ attorney,” he teased. “Cease and desist.”
A distinct line is drawn between performing and imitating. As soon as I answered my cell phone, my performance as a fox ended. I did not crawl back to the house on all fours, and I certainly did not eat rabbit stew for lunch.
The Greeks gave us the word “hypocrisy,” which is to perform or pretend, to wear a mask and pretend you are someone different from whom you really are. (I think it’s also the root word for “campaigning politician.”) In contrast, to imitate is to copy exactly and follow as a model.
When God asks us to imitate Him, He does not want a performance. The Emmys and Oscars are for people who do an exceptional job of acting out a part. Even an actor who loses has to clap and smile with a painted-on grin for the camera, trying to hide his disappointment.
The best awards show will be the one hosted by Jesus. By the love of God, there will be no cheesy musical numbers or lame joke deliveries that fall as flat as a shadow. There will be no statuettes given for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Role. Instead, the most coveted award goes to…
Outstanding Imitator of Christ.
So far the apostle Paul is a frontrunner:
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I also am of Jesus.
I don’t care if I never win the award for Outstanding Performance by a Fox. I have six little eyes that are watching my every move. Six little ears that hear every word. And six little feet that follow in my footsteps. Life is the real deal; I’ll leave the performances to the professionals.