Show Me—Don't Tell Me
"So I [Paul] ask you to follow my example and do as I do. That is the very reason I am sending Timothy—to help you do this. For he is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord. He will remind you of what I teach about Christ Jesus in all the churches wherever I go."1
Dwight Moody told about a friend of his who had been in Eastern lands and saw a shepherd who was trying to get his flock to cross a stream. He went into the water and called his flock, but no, they wouldn't follow him. So he picked up two lambs and, with one tucked under each arm, he plunged into the stream and crossed it without even looking back.
"When he lifted the lambs the old sheep looked up into his face and began to bleat for them. But when he plunged into the water, the sheep plunged in after him, and the whole flock followed. When they got to the other side he put down the lambs, and they were quickly joined by their mothers.
I recall reading how a visiting speaker to a high school spoke to the student body about the perils of smoking. Afterwards some of the students saw this same man smoking. Undoubtedly, he did more harm by his example than anything he might have said—no matter how true or relevant was what he had to say.
If you and I want to influence others for Jesus, what we have to say at the appropriate time is important, but what we say by the way we live will always carry a lot more weight. According to communication specialists the words we say only carry seven percent of the message we are seeking to communicate. Who we are and what we do speaks the loudest by far.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live that my life will model and be a living example of your ways so that people seeing Jesus in me will want you for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NLT).