Sermons We See

Twenty years ago I memorized this inspiring poem and it means as much to me today. I feel that it’s an excellent example of the adage ‘walk our talk’. To put our beliefs into action through our behavior. With my gratitude to the memory of the wise poet himself, Mr. Guest. I am overjoyed to present it here today, and will be sharing more of my favorite poems in coming posts. I truly hope you enjoy.


Sermons We See


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 those 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 one 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 person teaches many, we believe what we behold;

One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.

Who stands with those of honor learns to hold their honor dear,

For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.

Though an able speaker charms me with their eloquence, I say,

I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.


~ Edgar A. Guest


Edgar Allen Guest
with one of his beloved dogs


Edgar Allen Guest, also known as Eddie Guest, was a prolific English-born American poet who was highly popular in the first half of the 20th century. He was born in Birmingham, England in 1881, moving to Michigan USA as a child.

In 1895 Edgar Guest signed on with the Detroit Free Press as a thirteen year old office boy. He stayed for sixty years.

August 20, 1881 ~ August 5, 1959

More about Edgar Guest at –

Author: Gina Day

I enjoy gathering uplifting things for sharing, with hopes of brightening the day.

19 thoughts on “Sermons We See”

  1. I LOVE this!!! And I have never heard it! Thanks so much for sharing! I am not really religious, but I absolutely believe that what members of a church do during the week is more important than what they do on Sunday in church! Thanks again for a beautiful and thoughtful post!

    1. YES! Exactly. I am so glad you loved this as I do. I sometimes feel my love of poetry from around the turn of the last century is meant to be ‘put to good use’ and to help more people learn what poets were writing many years ago. Thanks dear Jenni, for your kind comments!

  2. What a thought-provoking prose. I particularly like:

    ‘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.’

  3. This just became one of my favorite poems. I like it so much that I plan to re-blog it. Thank you for sharing it with me and the world, Gina!


  4. Gina, Thanks for sharing this poem. I’ve always felt that the greatest lessons learned from others is how they live, not what they say. It reflects a conscious life. Something I certainly try to do in my life! Lovely! – Cathy

  5. Okay, I’ve just been asked for the first time ever to give a sermon at my local church in a few months’ time – thanks for the extra pressure! Only kidding – I love this. Thank you for sharing it. A great reminder to walk the talk. I’ll have to watch my conduct these next few months!

    1. 😀 No extra pressure intended! Kidding aside, I am excited for you to be giving a sermon soon. I look forward to reading your musings on the subject on your blog, if you feel like sharing about it. All the best, Gina

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