Recently my son and daughter-in-law rescued a puppy from a nearby shelter. After a couple weeks, they realized the dog was deaf, apparently from contracting parvo in her early months. This was not as great a challenge as you would think, since the dog’s other senses were more acute, and she typically stayed close to her owners. Their greatest revelation was that, lacking the ability to respond to voice commands, the dog learned by observing her owners.
Our children are in their twenties now. As I look back at my parenting efforts and the resulting positive impacts on my kids (thank God!), I realize they learned far more by watching me than by listening to me. Much of the energy I burned crafting a verbal message apparently paled in comparison to their observing how I conducted myself in various situations, how I treated others, spoke on the phone, etc. While I’m certain both words and actions work together to create the strongest impact, a living example is often more powerful than the message.
God provided many lessons through intermediaries in the centuries leading up to Christ and sometimes revealed himself through impossible deeds. Eventually, He saw the need to show us what holiness and love looked like: Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most powerful lesson we have received is revealed by his actual presence as his Son in human form.
Like many of you, I sometimes struggle with what to “say” when presenting my faith to others. This lesson provides comfort that ears and eyes will open up as people see Jesus in my visible actions. My prayer is that I always remain attuned to what God wants to accomplish through me today, if only by example.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”
Kevin McDonald, elder