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Edgar A. Guest was born in Birmingham, England, became a United States citizen in 1902, and eventually received the title “Poet Laureate of Michigan.” His poem “Sermons We See,” drives home the urgency of being a good, Christlike role model for others to follow:


I’d rather see a sermon

than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me

than merely tell the way.


The eye’s a better pupil

and more willing than the ear,

Fine counsel is confusing,

but example’s always clear;


And the best of all the preachers

are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put in action

is what everybody needs.


I soon can learn to do it

if you’ll let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action,

but your tongue too fast may run.


And the lecture you deliver

may be very wise and true,

But I’d rather get my lessons

by observing what you do;


For I might misunderstand you

and the high advice you give,

But there’s no misunderstanding

how you act and how you live.


When I see a deed of kindness,

I am eager to be kind.

When a weaker brother stumbles

and a strong man stays behind


Just to see if he can help him,

then the wish grows strong in me

To become as big and thoughtful

as I know that friend to be.


And all travelers can witness

that the best of guides today

Is not the one who tells them,

but the one who shows the way.


One good man teaches many,

men believe what they behold;

One deed of kindness noticed

is worth forty that are told.


Who stands with men of honor

learns to hold his honor dear,

For right living speaks a language

which to every one is clear.


Though an able speaker charms me

with his eloquence, I say,

I’d rather see a sermon

than to hear one, any day.


You and I can only imitate Jesus as the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to love our enemies; pray for those who despise and persecute us; be kind, compassionate, forgiving; and exhibit self-control. As He leads us, may we be that sermon others will see and come to follow Jesus as His disciples too.