I am from Missouri. They call Missouri the Show Me State. An example of this in action is when our pastor was interviewing for the pastor’s position at our church. There was a committee and everyone on the committee pretty much fell in love with him. But there was a lot to discern. Quite some time had passed after he submitted all of his information and completed all of the needed interviews.
We went out to dinner with his wife and him. He expressed being a little baffled. He felt like this was his calling to be here. He felt like we had embraced him. But there was no final feedback or decision yet
“Oh,” I said with a chuckle, “See, you’re not from Missouri, so you don’t understand. We’re the Show Me State. People have to show us before we trust them. You can’t just tell us for us to make a decision.”
You could see his countenance change immediately. His face just lit up with understanding. He was relieved and said, “I get it. Thank you!”
Shortly after the dinner he came on board to be our pastor.
As Christians we are supposed to share Christ. But that doesn’t always mean telling someone. I’ll give you two examples.
When Telling is a Turn Off
I was at home cutting my grass when two young men in suits carrying Bibles approached me. I knew why they were there. Frankly, I was excited. I was looking forward to having a conversation with them, because I knew that we came from different faith denominations. I turned off the lawnmower and said hello. They asked me if I knew Jesus. With an enthusiastic voice, I said, “Yes! Jesus and I are like this,” as I held up two fingers entwined around each other to illustrate my closeness.
Instead of saying, “That’s great,” or, “Tell us more,” they proceeded to ask me a litany of questions regarding my salvation and what I believed. I quickly lost interest. They had, in fact, interrupted my work, and I had other things to do that day. I politely told them I needed to get back to finishing cutting my grass and wished them well.
When Prayer is Loud and Proud
The second example was when Robert and I were out to dinner with some friends, Christian friends. When the meal came the wife asked the husband if he wanted to pray. This was great, because Robert and I always give thanks before we eat. We all held hands and then the husband proceeded to pray in a voice so loud that I was literally startled to the point of opening my eyes! He was clearly trying to make it a point to the entire restaurant that he was praying before dinner. I was embarrassed.
I am not ashamed of sharing my faith, (if I were, I wouldn’t have created a website sharing my faith), but I am turned off when Christianity is represented so poorly. It upsets me when others are turned off from the Good News.
Jesus isn’t happy about this either if you recall his words with the Pharisees. Matthew 23: 12 “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” And Matthew 6:5, “And whenever you pray, do not pray like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
I’ve noticed many times going out to eat at a restaurant where a family or group of friends will bow their heads before they eat. That act by itself is a witness to the world of acknowledging God’s presence and giving thanks. Not a word could be heard. But they showed us.
Sharing and Showing your Faith
The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you show people these fruits, when you practice compassion and love and caring and support, you open the door for Christ to enter. People will want what you have. Then you can tell them.
Remember show and tell in school? Show was always first.
May you show others the fruits of the Spirit. May you show up and be Christ’s presence in the world. Actions do speak louder than words.
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If you want to go deeper in experiencing the fruits of the Spirit, meditation is a great way to cultivate peace, love, joy, compassion, kindness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These guided meditations will help you.