Pastor's Pondering


Read Lead Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Ponderings here!


Show AND Tell

by Duane Mabee on June 27, 2019

In his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney relays the following story.


I heard the story of a man who became a Christian during an evangelistic emphasis in a city in the Pacific Northwest. When he told his boss about it, his employer responded with, “That’s great!  I am a Christian and have been praying for you for years!”  But the new believer was crestfallen. “Why didn’t you ever tell me you were a Christian? You were the very reason I have not been interested in the gospel all these years.”

“How can that be?” the boss wondered. “I have done my very best to live the Christian life around you.”

“That’s the point,” explained the employee. “You lived such a model life without telling me that it was Christ who made the difference, I convinced myself that if you could live such a good and happy life without Christ, then I could too.”

The example of Christianity saves no one; rather it is the message of Christianity – the gospel – that “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).

As believers, we often tell ourselves that we are fulfilling Christ’s command to spread the gospel because we are living good lives that the people around us can see.  But, as the story above states, the power of the gospel is not in the example of a good life.  It is in the message of the gospel.

While we should live good lives in front of the non-believers around us, good lives without a clear explanation of the gospel tend to cause people to focus on us.  People may become impressed with – or irritated by – our ability to live such clean, calm lives.  If they do, it creates at least two problems.  First, it causes them to believe a lie.  It makes them think that we’re capable of living a good life in our own strength.  Second, it distracts them from the only way they can receive salvation, which is through faith in Jesus Christ. 


To obey Jesus’ command to spread the gospel and make disciples, we must both show and tell the message of the gospel.  We must show them what the gospel does in the lives of those who surrender to it.  But, we must also tell them the gospel.  If we are not both showing and telling, we are not fulfilling the Great Commission.