Practicing what you (don’t) preach


Practice what you (don’t) preach.

I saw this saying the other day and immediately liked it. It makes sense — much more sense than “Practice what you preach,” mainly because most of us are not preachers, and even if we are, we are rarely on a platform where we are expected to preach. That’s something that people don’t like about preachers is that they have a tendency to preach all the time. They like to speak loudly and make a point about everything. They carry around a portable pulpit. Most of the time we are in relationship with people, not in church, and preaching just doesn’t work in a relationship.

When I imagine preaching in a relationship, I envision a man yelling point blank at another person and poking them in the chest with his Bible. The poor victim of this kind of preaching needs a hanky just to wipe their face off when this is over. The Bible isn’t open. That’s because the preacher isn’t sharing anything out of the Bible, he is using what he knows about the Bible to set somebody straight on something. He doesn’t need the Bible open since he already knows what’s inside it (ha). Besides, it’s easier to poke someone with the Bible if it’s closed. If this is preaching, then practicing what you preach isn’t going to help anyone, because they turned your preaching off a while ago.

A much better picture would be two people sitting side by side with Bibles open on their laps, asking questions and pursuing answers together. The picture to keep in mind is that we are walking along beside each other looking at the same things, and maybe reacting to what we see differently, but respecting each other’s reaction. That’s a shared relationship. Even lovers don’t spend all their time staring at each other. They look out at the world, side by side, and share many of the same things.

Sandie, in a comment yesterday, mentioned that she was focusing this year on kindness, respect, and consideration. Think about it: those things don’t preach. Kindness, respect and consideration are what you show someone, not tell them. Show kindness. Show respect. Show consideration.

I’m meeting a friend this morning whom I haven’t seen in a long time. It will be nice to be side by side again and find out what he’s learned out of what he’s seen and done.

Show, don’t tell. And practice what you (don’t) preach, because it’s better if you don’t preach at all.

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11 Responses to Practicing what you (don’t) preach

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Wow! A great & powerful Catch that I’m going to loving sharing this on Facebook – I love him, he sent me a book he wrote. Hope to read it someday when I do get caught up on my reading…

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Need an edit button! – I love this friend on Facebook that sent me a book he wrote,,,”Choosing the abundant life by Gary Hardesty

  3. Lisa in Sunland says:

    Preach it, Brother! But seriously, not preaching at those we are practicing on is wise counsel. Blessings on ya

  4. Gary says:

    Yep, practice what the Bible preaches about preaching to avoid preaching:
    “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

  5. Linden Frank says:

    John I caught the end of church…my work schedule has me working sundays…going to service tonight…I’m thinking about starting to catch the church on sundays…love what you are doing and your work in the body of believers…just got the book Bearing the Unbearable….powerful…grieving is a long process for all of us…but with Christ it’s made easier…May God continue to bless you and Marty and the work you are doing for God…may his name be praised…Lindy

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Happy to an Amen to this: ”May God continue to bless you and Marty and the work you are doing for God…may his name be praised…”

  6. Sandie says:

    From The Fight of Faith by Ray C, Stedman regarding Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “fight the good fight.”
    ” Spiritual warfare is redemptive warfare, compassionate warfare. The most difficult challenge in spiritual warfare is to recognize that people are not the enemy. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians. ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’
    “our enemy is Satan and his demons.
    The moment we start to battle against other people, whether Christian or non- Christians, we have stopped fighting the good fight. We are simply fighting as the world fights.
    We see Christians fighting the wrong fight all around us. Christians battle Christians over doctrinal differences and other issues in the church. Christians battle non-Christians in various forms of political and legal warfare. That’s not what it means to fight the good fight of faith. Our enemy is not made of flesh and blood.
    People are not the problem where spiritual warfare is concerned. People are victims of the true enemy.”
    …”people are victims. We must never treat people as the enemy. Jesus calls us to love people, even when they hurt us and oppose us.”

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Amen: “people are victims. We must never treat people as the enemy. Jesus calls us to love people, even when they hurt us and oppose us.”

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