“If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.” It’s an old saying, but it couldn’t be more relevant today. Are you living up to the way you talk about your faith? After all, actions speak louder than words.
A Tale Of Wedding Drama
My husband and I teach one of the only pre-marital classes in the area, so my pastor husband is in high demand to officiate couples into wedded bliss. At a wedding a few years back, we were seated at the “reserved” family table enjoying dinner when one of the groomsmen brought over the family housekeeper and invited her to sit in an empty seat next to him. While the sweet housekeeper appeared flustered and awkward because she wasn’t dressed up, she did agree to join us and jumped up to grab the waiter for a plate.
As soon as the housekeeper walked over to the bar, the groomsmen quietly explained to our table that the housekeeper was sitting inside all alone and he wanted to include her because she was a part of the family and had helped to raise him. We all nodded and agreed it was a fabulous idea, except for his mother.
“She’s not invited son. She’s the help. I didn’t pay for her to eat with us,” the mother exclaimed in a loud and shrill voice. I shrunk down in my chair in mortification.
Her son boldly stared his mother down. “It’s too late. I’ve invited her. Deal with it.”
The mother scowled and turned away. But a few minutes later she was back to telling us how involved she was at her church and yada, yada, yada … but all I could think about were her cruel words.
It’s hard to listen to listen to a person tell you what a committed Christian they are when their actions betray their words. The irony was sharp. I sat through dinner next to her as she spouted off scripture and all the Bible studies she had attended. Her resume was impressive, but I was repelled by her pompous behavior. She lavished attention on me and ignored the sweet housekeeper who had served her family her entire life.
How had this woman studied the Bible for years, attended thousands of church services and never grasped the meaning of sacrificial love and grace?
Becoming A Doer Of The Word
I squirmed in my seat as I watched the scene play out, then asked myself some tough questions. Do I judge like that? Do I discount people because of occupation or status? While I hope not, I will fess up to feeling uncomfortable when I am the minority in a group of people different than me. When I serve in some of the sketchier neighborhoods downtown or on house builds out of the country, I feel conspicuous and uncomfortable with my white skin. And while nothing in me made me feel better than or set apart, I do feel different and I know that in awkward situations, it’s easier to push away then lean in and embrace.
But as Christians, that’s exactly what we need to do. We must stop trying to look spiritual; it’s more important to actually be an example of Christ. We need to not only love our servants, we need to be servants. We are commanded to love our neighbor even when loving is messy and hard. We need to embrace the uncomfortable.
Putting Your Faith Into Action
Although I didn’t confront the woman at the party, I wish I could have grabbed a cup of coffee with her and held her hand and looked her in the eyes and said, “I know this isn’t easy. I won’t pretend you will feel comfortable, but let’s risk together. Let’s invite the downtrodden in our life to the party. Let’s make room at our table for the poor, the quirky and the Honduran woman who has loved your kids and vacuumed up the dust-bunnies and scrubbed the stains out of your shirt. Let’s bless and love, and then love some more, even when it’s hard and even when people will raise their eyebrows. Let’s take those Bible verses and all of your knowledge and put those words into action.”
Mother Theresa said, “Faith in action is love and love in action is service.” Let’s do more than just believe in God and fill our heads with knowledge. Choose this day to be the hands and feet of Christ to enact real change in the world.
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