When Jesus was living on this earth about two thousand years ago, He ministered to the people through healing, teaching, commanding, and preaching. The Bible recorded 49 commands that Jesus gave to His disciples and followers (https://iblp.org/questions/what-are-commands-christ); one of them, found in Matthew 20:26, 27, is to “be a servant”: “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (KJV). Jesus called His disciples to be servants, to serve others, to PRACTICE humility. Why did Jesus give this command? Did He observe that there were pride and arrogance among His disciples? It was most likely so. Look what happened during the Last Supper.
That night Jesus and His twelve disciples had gathered in an upper room for their last meal together. The unleavened bread and wine had been prepared, the basin with water was also ready, but there was no “servant” to wash their feet. While the disciples were waiting for someone who would do the job, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Jesus was waiting to see His disciples begin to serve each other, but it didn’t happen. Eventually, He took a basin and towel and started washing the feet of His disciples one by one. They were watching with unbelief as their Master bent down to wash their feet. He was not only saying it, but He was also PRACTICING what He said. As the saying goes, “He walks the walk, not just talks the talk.”
On the contrary, the scribes and the Pharisees said one thing but did the opposite. This was reflected in Jesus’ words: “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not PRACTICE what they preach” (Matt. 23:3, NIV, emphasis supplied). As God’s servants, which example have we been PRACTICING: Jesus’ or the Pharisees’? Sometimes we are good at telling others what they are supposed to do, but we ourselves fail to do what we told them to do. In other words, we talk the talk, but we don’t walk the walk.
Does our preaching correspond with our PRACTICE? Do our words and actions encourage and build up the faith and obedience of our church members? Whether we like it or not, our church members are watching us, to see if we PRACTICE what we preach. People are watching how we live. Even our children are watching and imitating what they see their parents and other adults do. So it is absolutely imperative that we follow the example of Jesus Christ.
Ellen White wrote in Manuscript 9, August 22, 1891: “It is not enough to have merely an assenting faith. ‘Yes, yes, I believe this; I believe the Bible.’ But what are you doing with it? Are you PRACTICING it? Unless you PRACTICE the sayings of Christ, it will do you no good” (emphasis supplied).
Let’s PRACTICE the preaching and walk the walk.