Being not saying. Part 1.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” 

When I was growing in my faith, as a young lad, I remember a great man called Mark. He was involved in the local church that I occasionally attended, he partly ran the church youth group and he was part of the team who took us away once a year on a residential weekend. I couldn’t tell you what he did for a job, and I don’t remember any of the teachings he shared with us. But I remember the way he was. He was tall, but not overbearing. Happy but not fake. Quiet but not shy. Fun but mature.

I watched how he spoke to people. I watched how he interacted with his wife and his children. I watched him welcome new comers to church, teach a message and cook food for the youth at a residential. I remember thinking that I liked this man, by seeing him in action in the everyday, in the normal. He was and still is a great man and an inspiration to me.

I am sure many of you have memories of people like this in your life. Teachers, leaders, somebody’s and nobody’s. People that you remember by who they were rather than by what they said.

Galatians talks about the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). These are characteristics that as Christians and believers and followers of Jesus, we should possess – or be aiming to possess. As we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, as the root of all we do, then the fruit should be evident in all we do. The fruits of the Spirit are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Longsuffering (long and patient endurance)
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • self-control

You don’t need to listen to someone speak to see if they are living with these fruits evident in their life. It’s the age-old saying that ‘actions speak louder than words’ that really does apply. Does a man’s actions show these fruits? Anyone can talk about it, or fake it for a while. But do they live with these fruits?

Imagine if you opened your front door one morning and right in front of you stood Jesus. A man in his mid-thirties, unshaven, sandals on and wearing some sort of middle eastern dressing gown. Everything that he would do would be from these fruits of the spirit. He would not even need to open his mouth for you to see it. They would emanate from his very being.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” W.E.B. Du Bois

It does not matter what you say. It doesn’t matter what your life looks like to others or how great and inspirational your social media updates are.  What you are matters more. Just as I was watching Mark, people are watching you.

I guess the question that I am posing to all of us is this: if you never spoke another word. Not a word. No social media posts. No wise comments to a friend or helpful phrase to a colleague. No reassuring word to a child or verbal expression of love to a partner – could those around you still see you living in the fruits of the Spirit – would they see love and joy? Would they feel peace when you enter a room? Would they sense patient endurance during difficulties? Would kindness and goodness follow you like a beautiful fragrance? Would they be reassured by your faithfulness or soothed by your gentleness? Would they feel secure in your self-control?

All without one word being spoken?

It’s a tough question to answer. Probably unanswerable. But remember:

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”


Much love. Rob

Read Part 2.


*Bible verses in the New King James Version

Rob Harvie Written by:


  1. cath vogelenzang
    25th February 2016

    Thanks Rob, good to be reminded…

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