Most of us remember show-and-tell day in elementary school. It was pretty much the highlight of my young existence. When the teacher said we could bring in anything we wanted–oh wow! All sorts of pets from cats and dogs to iguanas came to visit our classroom. Perhaps Dad’s hard hat or Mom’s figurines were brought in as well. It didn’t matter what was brought, the pride in getting to show your friends a treasure you’d previously only been able to tell them about was immeasurable.
However there was always someone who would forget that it was show and tell day. And no matter what they would tell us that they had, it was difficult for my young mind to believe them without the added benefit of being able to see it. As adults we’re now able to more readily accept people’s words for the things they have, unless of course it’s something outrageous. And while we can accept their words, showing will always outrank telling.
It’s the same for us as Christians. The lives we live, the things we say and the actions we demonstrate have a far greater impact in the world than simply proclaiming, “Oh how I love Jesus.” God, who is our example, even shows while teaching. Genesis 2:18-20 says,
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”
God knew that Adam needed someone comparable to Him but instead of telling Adam, He allowed Adam to figure it out for himself by showing Adam all of the other animals and their mates. 1 Sam. 16:1-3 says,
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.’ And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.’ But the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.’”
God told Samuel He would show Samuel what he must do. Verses 6-7 of the same chapter say, “So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” God was teaching Samuel about the way God looks at people by showing him all of the sons He didn’t want.
If showing is how God teaches, we not only should consider it, but we must add it to our repertoire. For Christians it’s easy to get caught up in “21 Questions, Bible Version.” People will randomly ask you questions about scripture and you’ll immediately tell them the answers. But when Samuel asked God a question, God said He would show Samuel what to do. It is infinitely more valuable to take the time to show them the answers, if they are willing, and let them read the answers for themselves. It’s the same in difficult scenarios. If you show someone that you are a woman of upstanding integrity and character by returning money when the cashier gives you too much change or by telling the truth even if It’s to your own hurt, they will remember that and may decide that they want to make changes in their own lives. The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 is another great example of showing. She actually does not utter one word in that chapter; all that is said about her is what she does. She showed everyone she was involved with that she loved and cared for them. She made sure her children were properly attired, she provided for her maidservants, she gave to the poor and she did her husband good–not told him she would. Our actions must speak louder than our words. We do need to tell people how much we love the Lord and how much we are blessed by Him, but more importantly we need to show them.
By Brittany Davis
Brittany Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of Virtuous Magazine, a Christian women’s magazine with a focus on evangelism and Christian living. LIKE Virtuous Magazine on Facebook and visit the magazine online at www.virtuousmagazine.com for more articles and subscription information.