Show Me

  • Pete Johnson
Love one another

The state of Missouri, like most states, has a nickname. The “Show Me State”. This nickname can be seen on license plates issued by the DMV of the State of Missouri. It is not sure where the nickname originated, there are at least four possibilities. One of those, the most commonly accepted regarding the State’s nickname, was derived from a speech given by United States Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, 1854–1932.  While speaking to a group in Philadelphia PA., he was questioning the accuracy of a previous speaker’s statement and offered up these words. “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” The phrase “frothy eloquence” basically means entertaining statements that offer little substance. In other words, “talk is cheap”, no matter the subject being discussed. 

But what about love? Is talk cheap when it comes to love? Billions of dollars have been made on poems, songs, and even novels that speak of love. Everyone loves to be told that they are loved.

In the 1964 Award-winning Musical My Fair Lady, there is a scene where Freddy, a would-be suitor, speaks of his undying love toward Eliza, played by Audrey Hepburn. In this musical number “Show Me” Eliza responds to Freddy’s “frothy eloquence” …

Make me no undying vow. Show me now!
Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don’t waste my time, Show me!
Don’t talk of June, Don’t talk of fall!
Don’t talk at all! Show me!

In other words, “Talk is cheap”

“I love you”, This could arguably be the most important statement regarding commitment in a relationship.  Throughout history, a plethora of poems, and songs have been written to illustrate the statement “I love you”, or “this is how much I love you”. These emotive words, which strike a passionate chord with most, really don’t prove love at all. Words without action or effort mean very little. Far too often, more time is spent on speaking words of love rather than actions of love.

The Gospel of John demonstrates that true love in a relationship is more than words.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

Not to miss the meaning of the text, this is Peter’s restoration, an act of true love by Jesus.  Jesus had backed up his words with action throughout his life and ministry cumulating in His death, burial, and resurrection. After the third time that Jesus asks Peter the same question, “Do you love me?”, Peter is grieved. Just as Christ did in the first two times he had asked Peter, “Do you love me?” he ended his question to Peter with a command to act, “Feed my Sheep” In other words, “show me”, through your actions, not just your words.

Peter was just like us, he had a lot of words to say about his love for Christ, but at times failed to live up to his talk. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Part of those commandments is “to love one another”.

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34 )

Do our actions, or lack of, betray our “frothy eloquence” of love toward the Lord, toward each other?

Do we love Christ; do we love one another?

Jesus is saying “Show me”!

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8–9)