God's word in today's world

Painting pictures

Ephesians 6:1-9

I was not the sharpest pencil at school. At University I was able to cram my three-year BA into five years. I suspect I have ADHD, because I have a poor understanding of what concentration means. This is one of the reasons why I write while reading the Bible, because otherwise what I take in through my eyes will slip out somewhere and after a few minutes I’ve forgotten everything.

But some things do stick in the old grey matter. Or like the experts say: There are different ways to learn. One thing that helps me a lot is pictures. I simply understand a story so much more than upright words taken in through the eyes.

In a TED talk (http://youtu.be/4vl6wCiUZYc) Patti Dobrowolski tells about the time when she had to go and assist a big pharmaceutical company to help its employees understand the company’s vision. Less than 40% of the employees understood the vision. After she had done her thing this jumped to more than 96%. And what did she do? She drew a picture of the vision. An ordinary picture broke down a complex piece of intelligence so that the employees could understand it. This enabled them to make the vision part of themselves and eventually it became part of their way of life. The effect was visible in the company’s financial results.

As the proverb says: A picture paints a thousand words.

Without us realizing it, we are busy painting a picture every day. The way I live my life paints a picture of me. A good friend of mine always says he watches how a person treats a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, because that tells him exactly what that person is made of. A small drawing by a person as he communicates with someone probably for less than a minute paints a picture of his deepest being, his inner being.

This worries me, because you see I realize that we paint a whole lot of pictures every day. We paint pictures, often in no uncertain terms, especially when we’re in a rush and get caught in the traffic and someone cuts in in front of us … then I realize my attitude or behaviour actually shows what is going on inside me. And for a moment I think about what I had said.

With every person with whom I communicate (and not necessarily always verbally) I paint a picture. And I wonder: When I lie in bed at night and think back on the pictures I painted that day – what would they look like?

And so we paint pictures for our children. They see the picture we paint when we talk to our spouse. They see the picture we paint working with money and doing calculations. They see the picture of how we talk about and to others. They see the picture we paint of God.

The pictures we paint for our children make it possible to raise them. The picture we paint while sometimes rushing too fast through life forms the backdrop of the way we bring up our children.

4Fathers (and mothers), don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

While painting pictures of life every day, do I succeed in getting my children to listen to me or not? Are they rebelling because of my pictures or not? Am I bringing them up through my pictures the way God expects me to or not? Do my pictures teach them to walk the right road or not?

Not easy!


What do your pictures look like?

Do others want to paint the same pictures?

Do you have to make a few changes?


Father, every day You give me the opportunity to paint pictures that show the inside of my heart to others. I really want to show my children a picture that they can follow confidently. Please help me to do what You expect of me. Amen

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