Did Jesus model this for us in any way? I believe He did...His first recorded words in Mark's Gospel are "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Why would Jesus tell some of the people he healed, "Your sins are forgiven," and then heal them? Is it possible He was prioritizing for us the matters of importance?
What is eternal in this life? Is it hunger? Is it pain? Is it sickness? Those things are temporary. So then feeding people, alleviating pain, and healing them are all temporary also. They are the things that will benefit them temporarily in this temporary world.
What is eternal is the word of God. And a person's soul. So we can feed a person all we want, but in the end, if they go to hell with a full belly, they are NOT better off.
We cannot neglect one for the other.
Just as it is unbalanced to simply provide for people's physical needs to the neglect of their spiritual, it is unbalanced to preach the gospel and not live a life worthy of the calling we've received.
It is essential.
My point is mostly this: Our lives must provide the platform of credibility from which we share the words of the Lord.
I find that when I leave my house with the intention of sharing the gospel with someone, I am not impatient with that car in front of me that just.won't.move. Because I have an eternal perspective, and that person may be the one I am going to speak to, and my actions need to do nothing to hinder my words. I am friendly to the cashier, and show patience as I wait in line. And its genuine, not put on, because I know that my wait time is not nearly as important as the message I am carrying around.
If you think tracts are a waste of time and paper, I'd encourage you to reexamine what God says about His word. Some good Scriptures are 1 Peter 1:24-25, Isaiah 55:10-12, John 1:1, to name a few. I've also read more than one testimonial of how a quality tract made a difference in someone's life. (note the word quality, please)
I truly believe we should all do our part to love our neighbors in every way possible. I agree that the church in the past has been a lot about hellfire and brimstone preaching yet looking down their noses at the very people who need them. I agree that mistakes have been made, priorities have been skewed. But let's not make the opposite mistake in letting the pendulum swing the other way entirely to only "being Jesus" to people instead of giving them the words of life.
But if we buy into letting our life speak for itself - instead of allowing our life to lend credibility to our message - I believe we are buying into human logic and not God's wisdom.