Focal Passage: 2 Kings 22:3-20
Experience has taught me that, consciously or subconsciously, we are always teaching something to somebody. Our responsibility as Christians is not only to be willing to teach but also to be aware of what we teach.
In 1980, Dr. Henry Crouch led my congregation in several days of spiritual renewal. My wife and I invited him to dinner one evening before a service, and while I helped her finish preparation for the meal, our six-year-old son Chris entertained Dr. Crouch in our den. Several years later, Henry Crouch and I crossed paths in Raleigh, and he told me of that experience. He said that he and Chris shared light conversation for a few minutes, and then Chris said to him, “You see that clock on the mantle?”
Henry acknowledged that he did. Chris continued, “Don’t touch it. That clock is the only thing my daddy has that belonged to his Granddaddy King. And if this house catches on fire, he’s going to run get that clock and take it outside, and then he’s going to come back and get me.”
This revelation was both humorous and alarming. For several days I kept asking myself, “What have I taught my son about his value to me?”
Without thinking, I had said several times to him: “Chris, that clock on the mantle is very precious to me. In fact, it’s priceless. If this house catches on fire, I’m going to grab that clock on the way outside.”
Chris thought I was saying that the clock was more valuable to his father than anything else. Of course, that was not what I intended to teach my son. After my conversation with Dr. Crouch, I made an opportunity very quickly to sit down with my son and tell him, “You are very precious to me, and I want you to forgive me if I have given you the impression that you are not. You are far more valuable to me than any old clock.”
There is a poem that suggests, “You are writing a book, a chapter each day, by the deeds that you do, and the words that you say.” We can all teach a pretty good Sunday School lesson if we have a Bible and a good commentary and a little time to prepare. But, the most important lessons we are teaching in life are not with our words but with our lives. What are you teaching by your life and your witness?