“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

In more instances than we probably care to believe, what we say is far less of an effective teaching tool than living it out before the eyes of others.

As we attempt to mentor, lead, guide, parent, and build into those in our sphere of influence, more of what we are aiming to pass on is caught rather than taught.

Recently I saw this occur when our daughter Anna, with her husband Wyatt, came home for a few weeks between semesters. During that period, as our 12-year-old granddaughter Gracie also spent a considerable amount of time with us, I noticed something intriguing. Gracie asked insightful questions, listened when people spoke, and would later recall in detail what others shared. Most of the time she acted thoughtfully, spoke with kindness, and seemed attentive in conversations at dinner and in-between times.

I realized Gracie was behaving much like Anna.

Anna had never sat Gracie down and said, “Pull out a piece of paper and take notes as I tell you how to have a meaningful conversation. I want you to write down these four points on how to be a thoughtful, kind person who is deeply aware of those you’re around.” Rather than giving Gracie step-by-step instructions, Anna simply lived out these qualities herself, modeling them in front of her niece.

In similar fashion, Jesus tells us in a hundred different ways, watch how I live and follow my example. Jesus wants us to read the gospels, learn from him, look carefully at how he lived, get to know him really well, and then to do likewise.

The Message version of Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Are you tired and worn out, burnt out with religion? Come to me, get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest, walk with me and work with me and watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t let anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

 John Mark Comer explains that Jesus offers us an invitation, an easy way to shoulder the weight of our burdens and our responsibilities. Christ says, I want to help you do this life with love and joy and peace. I want you to live unburdened, not to be heavy laden. I want you to live lightly and freely and I’m going invite you to take up my yolk, to travel through life at my side, learning from me how to shoulder the weight of what you’ve been called to do.

The point of being his disciple, the end goal of being a follower of Jesus Christ, is modeling our life after his in order to walk shoulder to shoulder and side by side with him, living in step with the Savior of the world and following after him.

Elizabeth A Mitchell

Photo Credit: Fouad Labandji on Pexels

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