June 7, 2022 • Life for Leaders
A Note from Mark
Dear Life for Leaders Reader,
Today is Fuller Seminary’s annual giving day. The seminary reaches out to its friends to ask people to help support the school’s work financially. As a part of Fuller, the De Pree Center is encouraged to participate.
Our Executive Director, Michaela O’Donnell, has written a fine letter that explains how you might support the De Pree Center’s work, including Life for Leaders. If you’re interested, you can check out her letter here.
Many of you already support our work through your giving. Thank you! I also thank you for the support you give us in prayer, notes of encouragement, and letting others know about our work. It’s a gift to serve you and to serve others with you.
Grace and Peace, Mark
Scripture – 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NRSV)
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
When people ask you what type of person you are, what do you say? You might point to your personality type or perhaps share your Enneagram number. That’s all well and good. But those of us who follow Jesus are in the process of becoming his “type of person.” The more we grow in our relationship with Christ, the more we will become like him. As this happens, our example will inspire others to become Jesus’s type of person as well.
Today’s devotion is part of the series Encouragement from 1 Thessalonians.
If you think back to a time in life when you were dating – which could very well be right now if you’re single – I expect you’ll remember a conversation you often had with your friends. For example, I’d say to my pal Mike, “Hey, Kim’s pretty nice. Have you thought about asking her out?” Chances are Mike would respond by saying, “Yeah, she’s nice alright. But she’s just not my type.” “My type” meant something like “a person with the set of attributes I find particularly attractive.” Mike was on a quest to find someone who was “his type.”
A verse in 1 Thessalonians reminded me of conversations like the one I had with Mike. Verse 7 of chapter 1 reads in English, “so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” In Greek, the word translated as “example” is tupos. It’s the etymological root of our word “type.” In ancient Greek, tupos originally referred to “the effect of a blow or pressure.” If, for example, a coin had stamped upon it a certain image, that image was a tupos. In time, however, tupos came to refer to a form or shape that created the image. When used analogously, a tupos was an “archetype, pattern, model, or example to be imitated.” This is the sense of tupos in 1 Thessalonians 1:7.
As you may recall from yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, Paul and Co. write in their letter that the Thessalonian Christians “became imitators of us and of the Lord,” especially because of their faithful endurance in the midst of affliction (1 Thessalonians 1:6). But in verse 7, the imitators become examples to many other Christians in their region. The church in Thessalonica became a tupos for others to admire and emulate.
What they exemplified wasn’t only behavior modeled after Paul and his colleagues. More importantly, they imitated the Lord and his resilience in the face of persecution. Their behavior reflected the stamp of Christ himself. Or, if we are being influenced by the Greek, the Thessalonians bore the tupos of Christ. They had been stamped by him so that they adopted his lifestyle. They became, if you will, a type like Jesus.
If someone asked you what type of person you were, how would you answer? Perhaps you’d point to some dominant personality trait. Or, if you’re a fan of the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, you’d cite your four-letter test result, saying something like, “I am an ENFJ.” (I am, in fact, an ENFJ.) These days, you might be more likely to share your Enneagram number, which serves as a popular shorthand for one’s personality type. If you’re familiar with the test and someone says, “I am a 3,” you know that you’re dealing with an “Achiever.” (I am a 3, by the way.)
I think personality tests and their types can be helpful. But I wonder if I, as a Christian, should be more inclined to think of my type in light of Jesus. Yes, I am an ENFJ and a 3. That’s just fine. But don’t I want most of all to be stamped with the life, values, lifestyle, and heart of Jesus? If someone asked me, “What type of person are you?” shouldn’t my first inclination be, “I’m a Jesus type of person”? Now I’m not suggesting we should necessarily say this in a job interview or when first meeting a neighbor. But when it comes to who I want to be in life and how I want to live, I want most of all to be like Jesus. I long to be a Jesus type of person.
I expect you share this longing. When you take time to reflect on who you are and how you’re living, don’t you want to be like Jesus most of all? Don’t you want to be the type of person who influences others to be like the Lord?
Before reading this devotion, if someone had asked you “What type of person are you?” how would you answer? Of course, you may have said different things depending on the context, so more than one answer is fine.
In what ways have you been “stamped” with the tupos of Jesus?
If you are seeking to bear the tupos of Jesus in your work, whether paid or unpaid, what might you do? Is there anything you might do differently from how you’re doing it now?
Talk with God about how you might act in imitation of Jesus this week. Then do whatever the Lord lays on your heart.
Gracious God, thank you once again for 1 Thessalonians. Thank you for what Paul and his colleagues wrote. Thank you for the example of the Thessalonians. Indeed, their example encourages me even as it once impressed others.
God, I would like to be more like Jesus. I know you’ve been working on this in me for a long time. I’m sorry it’s taking so long. Thank you for your persistence! I ask you to keep going, to shape my mind, heart, and actions so that I am more and more Jesus’s type of person. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The Mind of Christ
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.