Being examples to the flock. (1 Pet. 5:3)

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN is given credit for many great things, and he was indeed a remarkable person, inventor, statesman, politician, scientist, and author—to name a few. However, the acclaim for one idea credited to Franklin rightly belongs to another. When Franklin wanted to interest the people of Philadelphia in street lights, he hung a lantern on a bracket in front of his home.

But Franklin himself said he was influenced by John Clifton, who hung a lamp beside the door of his own home. Franklin simply followed Clifton’s example. He did improve on the idea though, using four panes of glass instead of a globe. He added a long funnel to draw smoke upward and placed crevices below to admit clean air. Thus, his lamps stayed cleaner longer than the globe type, which allowed smoke to remain inside the glass, darkening it.

Who is following your example, and what are you doing that is worth emulating? Peter said that elders should be “examples to the flock” but that’s good advice for all of us. By setting the right example, we can enlighten others even more significantly than Franklin’s lamps did.

As Albert Schweitzer put it, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

Be a worthy example to others because they are watching.

Ron McClung serves as assistant general secretary for The Wesleyan Church and lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.