Follow God’s example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father. Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, for Christ’s love for you was like sweet perfume to him. [Ephesians 5:1-2 (TLB)]

Be neat and clean.
Be courteous and polite.
Always obey your parents.
Protect the weak and help them.
Be brave but never take chances.
Study hard and learn all you can.
Be kind to animals and take care of them.
Eat all your food and never waste any.
Love God and go to Sunday school regularly.
Always respect our flag and our country.
[Roy Rogers’ Riders’ Club Rules]

rodeoSeveral “Nancy” comics have inspired my writing and I was curious about the strip’s artist/writer, Guy Gilchrist. From the tenor of his work, I was not surprised to learn that he is a Christian but that was not always so. As a boy, he was poor, lonely, abused and searching for someone and something in which to believe. Missing a dad, he found a father figure in an unlikely place—television—and in a remarkable person—a radio, television and movie star by the name of Roy Rogers. Since there was no difference between Rogers’ screen persona and the man himself, Gilchrist chose an excellent role model in this man of integrity. Kind and honest, Rogers was a devout Christian who stood for decency, truth and justice. Gilchrist, however, didn’t know about his hero’s faith until many years later. When the young cartoonist was unsure how to behave, he’d look to the singing cowboy and ask himself, “What would Roy do?” He knew his cowboy hero would always take the right course of action. Of course, the boy didn’t know that the Christian entertainer had his own model for behavior: Jesus. While Gilchrist was asking himself what Roy would do, the star was probably asking himself, “What would Jesus do?”

Gilchrist’s story points out how each of us can influence the lives of others and have a profound effect on them. Granted, we’re not Hollywood stars nor do we have a golden palomino named Trigger or a German shepherd answering to the name of Bullet. We do, however, have a responsibility to be good role models to all who know or even observe us. Do we live by asking ourselves what Jesus would do? Do we live in such a way that we would want young people to model their behavior after ours? Would we want them to react to disappointment, solve problems, settle conflicts, respond to insult, deal with loss, and treat people the way we do? Would we want them to ask themselves what we would do? Then, would we want them to do it?

Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did. [1 John 2:6 (TLB)]

And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s. [1 Corinthians 11:1 (TLB)]

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