"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Live What You Teach & Teach What You Live (Acts 20)
As Pastor Andrew took us through Acts 20 this morning, he pointed out the extraordinary example that the Apostle Paul provided us on this subject. In this passage we find his farewell message to Ephesus. Following a 3 year ministry, he is leaving the city in which he made a profound cultural change (see chapter 19). In his goodbye, Paul gives us the formula for how he accomplished such an impact; equal parts 'SHOW and TELL'.
In verses 17,19 and 35 Paul talks of "how I lived", "served the Lord" and "showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak." In other words, Paul demonstrated the life that God calls us to live. He didn't simply instruct others, but applied those instructions to his own personal walk. He walked the talk.
As to the idea of telling others, verses 20-21, 24-25 and 31 reference his "not hesitating to preach", "declaring the word", never stopped warning" and "testifying to the Gospel." Paul was direct and persistent in his sharing of the Gospel and of his own testimony.
Again, Andrew really hit the nail on the head relative to our reluctance to be more about the show and less about the tell. We have fallen into a trap that says it's ok to witness by our deeds alone. We can never share the Good News of the Gospel by deeds alone. Think about it, news is information. Information must be communicated with specifics and detail. There is a critical message in Christ's death, burial and resurrection that could never be understood by our community service activity or kind and loving personalities.
Paul transformed a culture of pagan worship and materialism by investing in both the actions and the sharing. It appears to be a formula that works. Simple, but not easy. I pray that we all look to find that balance.
Note: I also think we can find a great deal of fulfillment, and the opportunity to build lasting relationships, by applying this same principle to other pursuits ....... oh, I don't know ....... maybe ....... running, for example. If there is an opportunity to teach and provide advice on a subject that stirs excitement for you, pass it on. Just maybe think about passing it on with a purpose!
Keep running with horses.