The Power of an Example

“Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.” (Acts 27:35-36)

This may not seem like a significant episode, but it shows how powerful a person’s example can be. It happened on the ship that was supposed to be carrying Paul to trial in Rome. But they had been caught in a storm that was so violent that the passengers had not been able to eat for 2 weeks. Paul shared a word from the Lord that they would all survive, but that they needed to eat in order to sustain their strength and be able to make it ashore safely.

That was all good and well enough, but would they really take his advice and eat? This is what was so significant about what Paul did. Verse 35 says “Having SAID this (“take some food”) he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.” Paul not only TOLD them what they should do; he also gave them an EXAMPLE. He said, here’s what we should do; then he himself DID it.

And that example registered with everyone. Verese 36 then says: “All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took some food.” When they saw what Paul was doing, then they followed in his steps.

This just reminds us how powerful an example can be. Each of us possesses this power: ministers; Sunday School teachers; deacons; parents; teachers; even those of us who might consider ourselves to be just “ordinary people.”  We need to remember that perhaps our greatest power to influence others comes from living out personally what we would have them learn. If you will set the pace yourself, you will undoubtedly soon find that you have others following behind you doing the same thing!

 

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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