Meet the Tates (2)

Have you thought about which of the other TATES you would like to get acquainted with? There are several more, including a few whose faces are very familiar.

One is HESI-Tate. We can’t blame this young man for being cautious, because he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. But there is a time to make a decision and go FORWARD. There is a saying,

When you know where you’re going, it is time to step right along!

Unfortunately, that’s not HESI-Tate. You’ve heard about the proverbial donkey that starved between two bales of hay—because he couldn’t decide which one to eat from.

Well, HESI-Tate isn’t that extreme, but he finds decision making hard—because it MIGHT be the wrong decision!

But there is another point to remember here: that NOT deciding is also a decision. We leave it to default, and—it will not be the best. That’s why God gave Ezekiel this warning.

Ezekiel 18:31–32  31Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

God appeals: Stop transgressing My law, make your heart and spirit NEW, for “Why will you die?” In other words, do it NOW and LIVE!

32For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

Too much of HESI-Tate. Paul was not related to HESI-Tate. When Christ called, Paul made an immediate decision. What was that immediate decision?

Galatians 1:15–16  15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,

Paul decided immediately not to confer with his family. They might be HESI-Tates, and he didn’t need their counsel. 

When Paul was before King Agrippa, he told it from the other direction.

Acts 26:19–20  19”Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

When Jesus invited the fishermen, Peter and Andrew, to follow Him, were they cousins of HESI-Tate? No way! Let us read it from Matthew’s gospel.

Matthew 4:18–22  18And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

Immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus. Then Jesus went on.

21Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Two more well chosen disciples -to-be, James and John. Immediately they left it all. No relatives of HESI-Tate.

How different Paul’s story would be had he hesitated. Haven’t we heard that “delayed obedience is DISobedience”? That statement isn’t from Scripture, but the principle is there. If we HESI-Tate, we say, “I’m doing it MY way,” WE are deciding WHEN we will obey.

We must leave HESI-Tate to his indecision and go on to IMI-Tate.

Some have small praise for IMI-Tate because he isn’t original, he is always copying. But if you find the right original to copy, how can you do better than to be a high quality IMI-Tater, yes, a copier?

Copiers weren’t sitting in every office in Paul’s day, but Paul picked up the illustration and used it effectively.

First he told his people to imitate God as dear children. That means picking up the character attributes of God, as children learn from a parent.

Ephesians 5:1  1Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Then Paul continued with making himself the IMI-Tate. Hear what he said of himself with regard to Jesus:

1 Corinthians 11:1 1Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

Jesus was the Master, Paul was making the copy. He was the IMI-Tate.

People ready to imitate are everywhere. What the world needs are good ORIGINALS to copy. 

How exact could Paul be the copy? How well could he serve God as IMI-Tate?

That was his challenge. As he wrote to the Corinthians, whom he counted as his children:

1 Corinthians 4:15–16  15For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

Paul was right there, ready to help, ready to BE the one to IMI-Tate, the original to copy. He wrote:

Philippians 4:9  9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Was Paul the only original to copy? The churches needed more good originals. Paul, sensing this need, appealed to his son Timothy: YOU be IMI-Tate. YOU be the master! YOU be the example for them to copy!

1 Timothy 4:12  12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

James had more originals to recommend. James says, look at the prophets.

James 5:10  10My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.

Just look carefully, because there ARE good originals to copy.

Now we leave IMI-Tate to talk briefly with FACILI-Tate if we can get his ear. We don’t see much of him—he moves too fast! He’s here, then there, then somewhere else, always on the move, always lifting a load, always pushing the good work for God. No time to relax.

FACILI-Tate has energy and zeal. He follows Paul’s advice:

Galatians 4:18  18But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

And FACILI-Tate has focus. He is like Paul who said,

Philippians 3:13-14  13…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If you want something done, FACILI-Tate will MAKE it happen!.

Now comes a quiet, deeply thoughtful sister, COGI-Tate.

What does COGI-Tate mean? It means to think, consider, ponder. Ask her, and she will help you PLAN what you need to change, take down, or promote.

She’ll suggest what you can do to make your new life smoother and better. Listen to sister COGI-Tate. Work with her. And when she recommends barriers you can put up in your life to keep you from your worse self, DO IT. You’ll find she is helpful.

COGI-Tate will take you early on to Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:21  21”Set up signposts, Make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway, The way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities.

Think… consider…mark where to go, then tell yourself to turn your heart in that direction.

Haggai the prophet put up this same type of advice, very effective if we apply it.

Haggai 1:5  5Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 7Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!

It’s more advice from COGI-Tate.

There is one more Tate you must meet before we close, his name is GRAVI-Tate. This may seem like a strange concluding personality, but it’s one that affects us all, because GRAVI-Tate can go either toward good or toward bad. It is all determined by how we guide it.

GRAVI-Tate  will take us toward our dominant interest. That interest is OUR decision.

Listen as GRAVI-Tate tells you his own story. He says,

As a youth, my hero was my older brother MEDI-Tate. If I began to GRAVI-Tate toward worldly behavior, MEDI-Tate would warn me, “GRAVI-Tate, be careful, you’ll regret that later.”

He was right. That is why Paul said,

1 Timothy 5:22  22…[Don’t] share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

I found in God’s Word all the good warnings and advice MEDI-Tate had told me about. MEDI-Tate not only quoted Scripture to me, he was like my big sister IMI-Tate. He led by example. He really showed me the Christ-life.

Now that I am older, I am so thankful I followed MEDI-Tate’s advice. I gravitated more and more toward Christ in his example. Now I’m looking forward to meeting my Lord one day, and hearing him say,

“Well done, GRAVI-Tate, you followed the best. Come on in and share my joy.”