Actions Speak Louder
By Steph Nickel
We’re all familiar with the saying “Actions speak louder than words”, but how many of us actually follow through with what we say? Steph Nickel encourages us to be authentic, and to make sure our actions reflect our beliefs.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Matthew 21:28-32 says,
“‘What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” And he answered, “I will not,” but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, “I go, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.’”
There is an old saying that goes like this: “Actions speak louder than words.” And how true this is! We are likely all familiar with people who say all the right things. They bend over backwards to say what the listener wants to hear. They don’t want to offend—nor do they want others to think poorly of them. (I admit this has sometimes been the case in my own life.) But if they don’t follow through on their promises . . . well, soon we won’t be interested in hearing what they have to say.
Then there are those smooth talkers. They also know the so-called right thing to say in any given situation, but if you’re like me, you immediately question their sincerity. A rehearsed sales pitch—even delivered flawlessly—puts me on the defensive. I let whomever it may be know, almost right away, that I’m not interested. As I’ve said many times before, authenticity is of prime importance to me.
Maybe the second son is this story was being authentic and sincere when he promised to do as his father asked—or maybe he wasn’t. But he didn’t follow through and we learn from this passage that follow-through is vitally important. Sh, don’t tell anyone, but I have a tendency toward laziness. Even if I wouldn’t say “I will not” when asked to do something, I may be inclined to whine and complain—at least inwardly—if it’s a task I would rather not perform.
At least Son #1 was being honest. He did not want to work in his father’s vineyard and he said so. But, for whatever reason, he changed his mind. And it’s a good thing he did.
He is Truth
As we know there was always a point to the stories Jesus told. In this case He was challenging the spiritual leaders to take an honest look at themselves. They talked a good game. They had a lot of what we refer to as head knowledge or book learning, but they failed in the follow-through department. They did not recognized their personal responsibility to walk in obedience to the truths they could discuss so knowledgably. For the most part, they didn’t recognize how these truths applied to their own lives and they didn’t take responsibility.
You see, the Scriptures pointed to the coming Messiah. And here He was standing before them.
Remember what I shared a few days ago? They didn’t deny the miracles Jesus performed. The evidence was overwhelming and irrefutable. Instead, they tried to trip Him up on points of doctrine. They were unable to focus on the wonder of God’s Promise Fulfilled. Jesus knew their intentions and motives as well as their actions. And though Jesus was—and is—loving, compassionate, and patient, He is Truth.
Tell It Like It Is
Another old saying goes like this: “Tell it like it is.” And the Lord certainly did.
He told His listeners that two despised groups of people, tax collectors and prostitutes, saw things more clearly than they did, though they were learned and esteemed, from society’s perspective—and certainly from their own perspective.
At first these tax collectors and prostitutes didn’t do things God’s way. They were like the son who said he would not work in his father’s vineyard. In Bible times, tax collectors often cheated the people and pocketed the extra money. You can see why these two groups of people were looked down upon.
And yet . . .Some of them believed John’s message when he pointed listeners to Jesus as the Messiah. These are the individuals Jesus held up as an example. They changed their mind and began to do what was right and good.
Our Walk and Talk
We must be careful that we humbly accept the truth and, with God’s enabling, begin to do what He requires of us. The Bible makes it clear that we can’t earn right standing with the Lord, but when we genuinely believe the truth, our actions will reflect those beliefs.
We may be able to give all the right answers when it comes to the Bible lessons we’re learning. And teaching our children what God’s Word says is vitally important. However, we must remember that our actions will reflect what we truly believe.
May our walk and our talk line up with God’s Word.
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