Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Morning Devotions

Our Christian faith requires more than pious words—we are called to action. God did not just tell us of his love—he sent his Son to die for us.

By Chris WittsSaturday 2 Mar 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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There’s a very old English saying I’m sure you’ve heard and even said yourself, Actions speak louder than words. This old saying goes back to the 1700s, so it has been around for a long time. It’s an interesting phrase because it’s true and makes a lot of sense.

After all, we can say anything we like—but whether it is then put into action is another matter. But we don’t always practise its sentiment. The parent who tells their child not to smoke and then lights up a cigarette is unlikely to convince that child of the dangers of smoking. Or the Christian who has a sticker on the back of their car, What would Jesus do? and then cuts off another driver in a line of traffic. That sends a contradictory message. So we Christians sometimes get into trouble for not practising what we preach.

I was interested in the research I read about the way we communicate with each other. In a conversation, we communicate:

  • 7% with our actual words
  • 35% with our tone of voice, and
  • 58% with our actions.

Be wise in deeds

Interesting, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why we say Talk is cheap. Words can only be words when there is no corresponding action. If you want to know what somebody believes, don’t listen to what they say—watch what they do. Wise advice I think.

Our children watch us carefully to make sure our actions match our words. How powerful and enriching it would be if we could truthfully say to our kids, Do as I say and do what I do. Unfortunately, many of us would fail that honesty test. We know how important it is to live with integrity, and model that to our children.

A Jewish proverb says, Don’t be wise in words—be wise in deeds.

I was hungry, and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.

St Francis of Assisi once invited an apprentice to go with him to a nearby village to preach a sermon. The young monk quickly agreed, seizing an opportunity to hear his teacher speak. When they arrived at the village, St Francis of Assisi began to visit with the people. First, he called in to see the butcher, then the cobbler, then a short walk to the home of a woman whose husband had died recently. After that, a stop at the school to chat with the teacher, and this continued all morning.

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After some time, St Francis of Assisi told his disciple it was time to return to the abbey. But the student didn’t understand: But we came to preach. We haven’t preached a sermon.

Haven’t we? People have watched us, listened to us, and responded to us. Every word we have spoken; every deed we have done is a sermon. We have preached all morning.

It was the same St Francis of Assisi who also wisely said, Preach without ceasing. If you must, use words.

Let us follow up on our promises

Those of us in the church rate sermons highly, and we promise to pray for people. But do we always follow up on our promises?

There was a lady once, who was homeless and she turned up on her vicar’s doorstep for help and do you know what the vicar said? I’ll pray for you. Yes, of course, we need to pray, but that can never be an excuse for inactivity when faced with injustice and need.

That lady wrote a poem, and it goes like this:

I was hungry, and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned, and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked, and in your mind, you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God
But I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.

(Quoted in Issues Facing Christians Today, Dr John R. Stott)

I think if we call ourselves Christians we need to show it.