We Teach By Not Only Our Words, But By Our Example

Least in the Kingdom
by Joni Eareckson Tada
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:19
Herb had served as a leader in Christian ministry for years; so I was stunned when he confided to my husband that he was planning to leave his wife. “Martha and I have lived separate lives for years; the kids are grown… why not? It won’t really hurt anybody.” He thought a minute, then added, “Sure, I feel bad about it and I wish it would have worked, but I know in the long run that, well… God will forgive me.”
If so, he won’t be the same Herb. Charging ahead into sin while betting on God’s forgiveness is a prescription for disaster. Herb will diminish his capacity for service in God’s kingdom. He will break his marriage vows — the commandment to love and honor his wife — and through his example he will be teaching others to do the same. Young couples struggling to stay together will lose their resolve when they hear about Herb. This is why he will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Herb, why risk your eternal state? Is escape from your dead-end marriage worth being demoted to least in the kingdom of heaven? May it never be!
Anyone who breaks God’s commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. It should send shivers down our spine! Don’t forget, we teach by not only our words, but by our example. Think of the people who will observe your actions today. Will you unwittingly be encouraging them to join you in sinning? What will you be teaching them about God?
Lord Jesus, I realize I don’t take Your commandments seriously enough. Help me to respect your commands, live soberly, and look forward to a greater capacity of joy, worship and service in heaven.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Pearls of Great Price
Copyright © 2006
By Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.
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