I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but we are now smack dab in the middle of rifle season for deer. Today marks the midpoint with another full week of possibilities stretching out for those with some vacation, warm clothes and gamey desire.
Hunting season was always the busiest time of year in my father’s taxidermy shop. Dad usually stayed open until 9 p.m. or later each night to allow hunters to drop off their deer heads and to tell their tales. Dad always said, “Every deer’s got a tale, and it’s not the one fastened to him.”
Dad was very creative in finding ways to involve us kids in his business. At younger ages, we cleaned up. As we got older we could help with fleshing and salting the hides. Older still, we could occasionally do some skinning. Skinning the heads, however, was a highly skilled process and Dad usually did most of that himself since he would have to mend whatever holes were cut.
I also remember some pretty unusual show and tell items that we took to our classrooms this time of year. Who else could bring eyeballs, deer feet, and more? I won’t go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say that some of our elementary teachers learned more about deer anatomy than they probably cared to.
Show and tell is a teaching method that has been around for years. Not only does it allow students to share something they are passionate about and enjoy, but it also gives them an opportunity to develop some public speaking skills and self-confidence as well.
Those of us who are Christians are to be showing and telling each day. The Bible commands us to show by our actions that we belong to Jesus. We are to care for the hungry and thirsty, the sick and imprisoned, the widows and orphans, and so on. In Matthew, Jesus said that if we shine our light before others, they will see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. This is the “show” part of our Christian show and tell.
But the telling is also important. In Mark 16, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” On various other occasions after his resurrection Jesus told his followers to tell others what they had heard, seen, and experienced. Paul’s letters make it abundantly clear that part of following Jesus is bearing verbal witness to him. After all, I didn’t just silently show a deer ear to the class, I talked about how it was made, what it did, how it moved, and so forth.
For most of us, it’s easier to do one or the other. Some are gifted and bold communicators who have no inhibitions about sharing Jesus over coffee or over a pulpit while others are intimidated to do so. A far larger number find it easier to help a stranger, feed a hungry child, or visit the sick as long as they don’t have to say anything.
Even though our particular abilities may lie closer to one end of the show and tell spectrum than the other, it’s important to do both. If we just show Jesus’ love by our actions, people might appreciate it but there is no way they can ever learn of his sacrificial death and victorious resurrection just by watching us. Conversely, if we only tell people about Jesus but fail to live out his humility and love through faithful service, others aren’t likely to be moved by our message.
When the two are combined, however, powerful things happen! People hear with their ears and see with their eyes and the multimedia message changes hearts and lives. As we work and as we share, they begin to understand why we do what we do and what a relationship with Jesus looks like in action.
As you remember some of the odd show and tell items you shared as a kid or saw shared by others, be reminded to do both with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Show it by your actions and speak it with your mouth. In so doing, His will will be accomplished! Striving to show and tell, George.
George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored 11 books including his latest devotional, “Blessings, Volume II,” which is a collection of these articles. It is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.