This post introduces a new series called “Stories”. This series will present the stories of people who are seeking to serve God and serve others in their lives. This could include acts of service that would seem “mundane” and also service that would seem “out of the ordinary”.
What is my goal with this series? First, I believe that teaching happens primarily through example. Yes, words are important for teaching. But, I believe that teaching with words should reinforce what we’re teaching through the way we live – the way we walk.
For example, consider what Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in meâ€”practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 ESV)
He also told Timothy:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings … (2 Timothy 3:10-11 ESV)
Notice that in each of these examples (and many, many more), Paul encouraged his readers to follow his teaching in word, but he also encouraged them to follow the example of his life. In fact, he often reminded his readers of his manner of life among them.
In the following passage especially Paul welds together the concepts of word and conduct:
For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)
So, first, sharing these stories is a method of teaching – a method that is sorely lacking in many churches today. We have replaced this holistic method of teaching and discipleship with a method that relies almost solely on words. In fact, many future leaders are taught not to get too close to the people they teach, making it impossible for them to teach with their conduct.
Second, sharing stories is a way of encouraging others toward love and good works. We see this especially in Hebrews 10:24 –
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)
This idea is present in many of the other passages above where Paul exhorts his readers to not only learn from his conduct, but to imitate his conduct.
So, these stories are given as a means of stirring us all up to love and good works – that is, provoking us to demonstrate the love of Christ through our good works. These are examples that we can follow in our own lives as God gives us the opportunity and the ability.
These “stories” will include my own stories and the stories of people that I know. Occasionally, I will share “stories” from other blogs or other sources. Similarly, I will share some of the stories that I’ve received and that I continue to receive through the contest that I’m running (see “A Contest: Examples of Serving“). So, if you haven’t done so yet, please email your stories to me – both for that contest and for my new series.
Hopefully, through this new series, we will teach one another and encourage one another to walk in a manner that is worthy of the gospel and worthy of our Master and Shepherd.