I pray that my children can honestly say that I was a good example of Christ to them!
Teaching by Example
"In this letter, I would like to share a few thoughts with you that
I have found to be very important in serving the Lord.
Did you know that even if you never presented one lesson in
a Sunday school class, God specifically chose you to be a teacher?
You see, there is another way of teaching besides lecturing. It’s the
one Paul describes in 1 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 2:7: “ . . . be an
The most powerful teaching is not with words, but by example.
Our lives are designated by God to become models for
others to observe and learn how biblical truth is translated into
Jesus revolutionized our understanding of God by what He
did after His sermons: touching lepers, taking time to embrace
and bless children, walking away when people tried to make Him
king, washing the disciples’ feet and praying for those who crucified
Likewise, Paul trained his co-workers and converts by his example:
going back to the place where he was stoned to preach
again, singing praises to God at midnight after being beaten and
jailed and fervently praying for the churches and writing letters to
them—while waiting for his execution in a Roman prison.
The strongest influence on our own children, our Bible school
students and the believers in our churches is our example. It speaks
much louder than words.
Our example reproduces in others what we are ourselves.
The pattern they see in us, good or bad, becomes their teacher. If
we put God first, they will too. If our walk with the Lord is consistent,
our faith unshakable, our lives free of bitterness and our
hearts full of forgiveness, that’s what those around us will become
But believe me, our negative attitudes, our insincerity, our carelessness
and our secret greediness for money and material things
will transfer just as strongly. And it bears enormous consequences
for God’s kingdom. Those who are taught by your example will
pass the same on to others. Take a good look at the things you
don’t like in your children, co-workers, Bible school students or
church members and ask yourself: “What did I contribute to create
We are automatically teachers as long as just one person
observes us! My dear Sister, that’s the thing we most often forget.
For those of us who are married, it is easy to complain in the
privacy of our heart or in front of our children that the ministry
is robbing us of the good things in life. Even if we never put it
in words, the atmosphere we create is incredibly destructive and
teaches volumes to those watching us.
That’s one of the main reasons why many children of Gospel
workers resent their parents’ ministry and choose a secular job
rather than serving the Lord.
When our children were born, I decided that I would not
allow any resentful attitude to take root in my heart and that I
would never talk negatively about serving the Lord in front of
Daniel and Sarah. Yes, there were times that I cried when my husband
had to travel so much and we three were often alone. But I
always told our children, “Jesus is worth it, and we are privileged
to help others come to know Him.” I made sure that they knew I
was in total agreement with what my husband was doing.
“Follow my example” was Paul’s invitation to the Christians.
Please read 1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17 and 4:9, and 1
Thessalonians 1:6–7 and 2:8. Paul didn’t write this because he felt
he was perfect, but because he knew he was genuine in his faith
and pursuit of Christ.
I believe the Lord desires that each of us come to a place where
He can point to our life for others to learn what it truly means
to follow Jesus. Perhaps by reading this letter, you have discovered
an area in your life where your example created un-Christlike
attitudes in others. Bring this area to the Lord in prayer and, by
His grace, change the direction you were going. Be humble, and
confess to your children or co-workers that your influence taught
them the wrong thing. Most of all, let them see how Jesus has
changed your heart.
Dear Sister, I sincerely hope this letter is an encouragement for
your walk with the Lord. May God bless you and fill your heart
with His peace.
Your sister, Gisela