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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Seen and Not Heard

In my younger days one of my favorite Christian bands was Petra. I enjoyed their music, and most of the time their theology wasn't too bad, either, so they were high on my list. Even saw them in concert ... with Steve Taylor. Now that was a treat. One of their well-known songs was titled Seen and Not Heard. The chorus included these lines:
Seen and not heard, seen and not heard
Sometimes God's children should be seen and not heard
There's too much talk and not enough walk
Sometimes God's children should be seen and not heard
We've seen it before. It's not new. There has been a famous quote going around, generally falsely attributed to Francis of Assisi, that says something like "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." Same idea. Live your faith more than talking about it.

I get it. I really do. It is true. Too many people talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Too many people, self-identified Christians, speak boldly and loudly for Christ and live like practical atheists, like God is not really there. In the Christian life, "Do as I say, not as I do" is not an option. Jesus said He gave us examples to live by (John 13:15). Paul repeatedly told his readers to "follow our example" (Phil 3:17; 2 Thess 3:7,9) and told others to be examples (1 Thess 3:7; 1 Tim 4:12; Titus 2:7). Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt 5:16) No mention of "fine apologetics" or "well-formed sermon". We do need to live the gospel, to live Christ. We are the mirrors God designed to demonstrate His Son and His glory.

That being said, it is a false dilemma to argue that we should be "seen and not heard", that we should "use words if necessary." We are commanded to use words. The Scriptures commend preaching as much as working. Paul said that whoever would call on the name of the Lord would be saved, but continued, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:13-14) Timothy was told to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2 Tim 4:2) We are commanded to speak the truth (Eph 4:15,25). We do indeed need to live the gospel, but we absolutely must speak the gospel as well.

The truth here is that too many of us don't walk the walk. But I would also disagree with Petra that there's "too much talk". Too many of us talk, but not the gospel. We're talking, too often about peripherals, but are we sharing the truth, God's truth? What we need is to live in such a way that people will glorify God and demand from us a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). Our lives should invite questions like "What makes you different?" that demand a verbal answer. God's children should be heard and seen. It's our calling.


Leigh said...

Nicely put! totally agree. Especially with your last line "Our lives should invite questions like "What makes you different?" that demand a verbal answer. God's children should be heard and seen. It's our calling". I will add to the lyrics though, the last line of the petra song is...

Let your light so shine in all you do
With an answer near when they come to you
Don't let your mouth start talkin'
Until your feet start walkin'

Stan said...

That sounds dangerously close to ...

"Uh, I kinda wanted to tell my friends about it."
"What? You're still a babe; you have to grow.
Give it 20 years or so."

David said...

I bet the world would love for us to be more seen than heard.

Stan said...

That's the truth. And, in fact, the impact of believers actually living the truth is pretty high.

David said...

But, if we're seen and not heard, then that can just put on their "Somebody Else's Problem" glasses and ignore us.

Leigh said...

ooooh Stan, yes I heard Steve Taylor singin! lol Ok you got me on that. I agree with David too, the world would love it if we were seen more and not heard. Keep on talking about Jesus, no matter what!