Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

July 21, 2017

I am continuing my brief time away investing in my own heart, mind, body and soul. I treasure your prayers. My good friend, Omar Al-Rikabi, will continue to lead us through “Five Days With Philemon.” Omar pastors the First United Methodist Church in Heath, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. You will love him.

Philemon 18-25

18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, PAUL, WRITE THIS WITH MY OWN HAND: I WILL REPAY IT. AND I WON’T MENTION THAT YOU OWE ME YOUR VERY SOUL!
20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.

21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more! 22 One more thing—please prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that God will answer your prayers and let me return to you soon.

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. 24 So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers.
25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


Just the other day, my wife came home from running errands and asked if I had read the latest Daily Text. Of course I had, I told her, because I’ve been the substitute Daily Texter… I didn’t just read it, I wrote it.
She knew that, but said, “Just checking, because you really need to do what it says. I love you!”

I smiled and told my wife I love her, too. She wants to hear it, but she really wants to see it: in how I am present with our daughters when I get home from work, or in how I budget our money, or when I clean the toilets or put down my iPhone. You get the idea.

In other words: show me, don’t tell me.

Paul began our “five days with Philemon” be telling his friend “I am praying you to put into action the generosity that comes for your faith…” Yesterday, we looked at Paul talking about submission in Colossians and Ephesians, and how Philemon would have been familiar with this teaching. But in this letter he’s challenging Philemon to not just know about submission, but to put it into practice.

In other words: show me, don’t tell me.

In today’s text, at the end of the letter, we get Paul doing the same. A runaway slave would have cost Philemon a lot, but Paul finishes all Christ-like when he says

“If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me… I WILL REPAY IT.”

This entire letter is Paul using his authority in love to challenge Philemon to rethink what it means to be a servant of Christ. And he does this by redefining Philemon’s relationship to his slave Onesimus.

The goal of the gospel is to redefine our relationship to God, to others, and even to ourselves. If, as JD has talked about here, the first half of the gospel is John 3:16…

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”.

… and the second half of the gospel is 1 John 3:16…

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

… then the whole gospel can be summed up in: show me, don’t tell me.

In his introduction to Philemon, Eugene Peterson says, “Every movement we make in response to God has a ripple effect, touching family, neighbors, friends, community. Belief in God alters our language. Love of God affects daily relationships… it all gets worked into local history, eventually into world history.”

So my charge to you as we finish this letter is the same as Paul’s to Philemon:

“I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!”

In other words: show me, don’t tell me.


Heavenly Father, stir up the gift of your Holy Spirit in our lives so that we when tell people Jesus loves them, we show it too. In your Son’s name we pray, amen.


What would it look like for your relationship with Christ to redefine some of your personal relationships?
Where in your day to day life can you not just tell people Jesus loves them, but show it? What would that look like?

For the Daily Text, I’m Omar Al-Rikabi

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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