I was sitting in church one Sunday while one of our church leaders gave a children’s sermon on Mexican jumping beans. He had a bag full of dry beans, some were white, some were brown, and some were Mexican jumping beans. He had the kids try and guess how many different types of beans there were, and asked what was different about the different beans in the bag. That’s when one moved!
He went on to explain that inside the jumping beans was a small bug- that’s why they moved. That’s how they are identified as jumping beans, and not just some other bean. And we can observe the beans and know what is inside them by what they do- in this case, “jump”.
The sermon ended with the analogy that like these beans, Christians are identified in the same way-others can observe and know who is inside us by what we do. Though this illustration was meant to teach the children, I find it had a profound impact on me. I was taken aback by such a simple analogy- yet, the meaning was so true! Our lives are measured by the outside world (unbelievers) by what we DO- not what we SAY. Today, talk is cheap, but actions have always spoken louder than words.
Paul reminded Titus of this very thing. “In every way be an example of doing good deeds” (Titus 2:7). Paul knew that our actions played a huge impact on the ministry. Other people scrutinized everything that Paul and the other disciples taught. The world put Christ on trial every time the disciples spoke about the gospel. So what they did when they weren’t teaching had just as much impact on what others thought about Jesus- they lived their lives representing Christ to the world. Peter taught this very same concept when he said, “People who do not believe are living all around you and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again.” (1 Peter 2:12)
I once heard a saying that witnessed to me. “You can preach a better sermon by the way you live, than by what you say any day”. Our good deeds do not get us into heaven, but how we live could very well lead someone else to belief in Christ.