For this week’s Monday Minute, Jennifer reminds us that while it is often said actions speak louder than words, we need to use our words to share the Gospel.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
by Jennifer Wake
“Hey mom, my chemistry teacher is going to be gone for six weeks, will you be his substitute teacher?” Without a second thought I said “sure.” Put me in front of a chemistry or physics class any day. That is a group of people who I can connect to and have fun with. I love to blow things up to shock students and drop things from rooftops to prove gravity exists.
However, sharing the Gospel is a totally different thing. My first thought is “where is my husband, the chaplain?” But sharing the Gospel is what I am called to do, every day. As a mom, God wants me to teach my kids about him and his Word. As a person who attends chapel I volunteer each year with VBS (Vacation Bible School). I love to serve and help. Yet, God calls me to do more.
I often quote St Francis of Assisi as saying: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Unfortunately it is a misquote. He never said those exact words. It might have come from “Saint Francis of Assisi Rule 1221” which says: “All the Brothers, however, should preach by their actions.” Although I have to stop using that quote, it was a foundation of my early life.
When I was a new Christian, this idea of sharing the Gospel through my actions shaped my life.
I love helping people, making food, watching kids, gardening, you name it. For many years I relied on my acts of service to “show” people the gospel.
Recently my young adult children have been asking questions about our beliefs as they wrestle to figure out what they believe. This is understandable because moving every 20 months for the last ten years, can lead them to have gaps in their “Christian education.” They must also internalize their faith and confirm for themselves what they believe.
Since I grew up in a very traditional church where each year of our Christian education built upon the previous years, I was taught all the creeds, and the purpose behind things we used in church services like advent wreaths, and colors on the altars. After my husband joined the Army as a chaplain, all those symbols and traditions faded away since we did not use them in our contemporary worship services.
My children, like many young adults of the next generation, now want to know why things are done and what they mean.
This has pushed me out of my safe comfortable place of serving into preaching more than sharing the gospel. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t stand up and have notes and spend hours preparing like a pastor. Instead, I get to share what I know and what I am learning around a dinner table or anytime they have a question. To me, this is my way of preaching the Gospel.
Preaching the Gospel is sharing God’s love for everyone and how to receive redemption from our sins.
Questions that come up about the elements of worship in the church lead to wonderful discussions and more questions. The conversations about this rich history provide a great avenue to share God’s redemption story.
The Advent wreath is a great example of a tradition and symbol that shows all parts of God’s redemption story.
(Read more about Advent here: Advent Preparation)
When we put up the advent wreath in December, it reminds us about Jesus’ birth and why it was important. However, the wreath is a circle which draws us back to Christ’s coming again in victory (Luke 21:27-28). We hang that same wreath up all through January and into the Lenten season so that on Good Friday, when we place it on the cross to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore (Matthew 27:29). For hundreds of years, this simple tradition reminded the people of God about the Gospel message and opportunity to share the Good News of Christ.
Do your actions speak louder than words?
Saint Francis lived his life preaching from town to town. People loved walking with him as he helped and shared blessings with the needy. He truly preached the Gospel with his actions, but more importantly he backed it up with his words. That is what I want to do everyday.
God calls us all to share the Gospel with people around us. Look for the opportunities God puts in front of you. Share through your actions, but more importantly share through your words.
Read: Luke 10:25-37
Reflect: What actions is God calling us to do? What can you do?
Respond: Write out your own personal testimony. How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior? If you have questions reach out to us at Planting Roots or to your local pastor or chaplain. Start looking for times to talk about God in everyday situations.
Lord, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus. Remind me to share about that wonderful love every day to people around me. Amen.