Travel agent or tour guide?

Published 5:10 pm Friday, June 9, 2017

In their book, Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger include a brief discussion regarding what they view as the difference between a travel agent and a tour guide.  They point out that a travel agent can give a lot of information about a destination through brochures and other means, while a tour guide, on the other hand, adds a deeper dimension–he or she will not just tell potential clients about the trip, but will go with the traveler so that the experience will yield far more than it could have presented without his or her presence.

The authors make a good point by using the tour guide idea as an illustration of how we should personally influence others spiritually.

I enjoy visiting historical sites and seeing old houses, farm buildings and tools from decades past.  I especially like sites that offer demonstrations of how people lived in olden days with their limited resources and labor intensive ways of doing things.

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I can glean a lot of information by simply walking through a museum or village and looking at artifacts and reading facts that are posted in writing.   But when a tour guide is present to explain what I am looking at and demonstrate how some of the old tools operate, it takes on a new light; it comes to life and suddenly makes a lot more sense than it did before.

We should enter each day desiring to be used to not only tell others about God, but to demonstrate His  life transforming work operating in our lives.

After Christ’s resurrection and just before He returned to Heaven, He instructed His followers to share His message with others.  But His mandate to them (which extends to us today) was much more than a call for them to give out information.  His plan was for them–and for us today who follow Christ–to live lives that demonstrate to others that the way of Christ is worth following.  Like an experienced tour guide, He wants us to let others see firsthand the living presence of God at work in our lives.

If we expect to serve as a spiritual tour guide for Christ, we must pay careful attention to how we live.  What is seen on the outside must be an indication of what is on the inside.  The words of Christ in Matthew 5 give us a clear reminder of the importance of living righteously before others:  “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven” (verses 14-16, New International Version).

Is your life for Christ more like a travel agent or a tour guide when it comes to sharing your faith with others? 

Do you simply tell them facts, or do you live so that they can see that what you claim with words is actively at work in your life?  With God’s help, let the light of your life be ignited by the presence of God so that you can guide others to the only Source of eternal life–Jesus Christ.