Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Dr. Ron Jacob
Long Island MTC, NY
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

During a recent Sunday School class the students and I reviewed a famous quote by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” The 10th graders loved it and proclaimed it to be “so deep.”

I went home and did some research on the quote and realized that it is the most disputed words by St. Francis. Researchers find no evidence of this quote being his or even his followers.

The closest thing anyone could find was from his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching. It says, “All the Friars … should preach by their deeds.” So essentially this means our words should match our actions and vice versa.

In Micah 6, God accuses the people of Judah of breaking the covenant through their lack of justice and honesty, instead imitating the hypocritical ways of the kings of the northern kingdom. Micah calls for a reformation in the actions of the people, not just the words.

Thanks to the leadership of the North East Region Youth Fellowship and our Youth Chaplain, a ministry with New York City Rescue Mission named “Do Something” has been established. The Mission’s motto is, “Providing spiritual hope, food, shelter, and clothing to the needy of NYC since 1872.”

The partnership allows our members to go once a month to prepare and serve a multi-course meal which is paid for by funds collected by our members. I was privileged enough to be part of the initiative this month. The result was a sense of faithfulness along with some guilt. I wondered to myself if this was one of the few times my actions matched my words. After all those years of preaching, teaching and writing, the simple acts of kindness and justice to God’s people made the Gospel a reality.

After that experience I took an introspective look to see if my words really match my actions. Do I show enough compassion and honesty to the less fortunate? What fruits have my words and actions produced?

Whether you are clergy, laity, leaders or followers…can the fruits of our ministry which is to be filled with justice, kindness and humility be quantified? Can we put a number or face to those who have been positively affected by our call from God? This can be a painful yet necessary self-assessment.

My challenge is for us to ask the uncomfortable questions to ourselves, “Are we providing justice, showing kindness and walking humbly and are we professing the Lord Jesus as our Savior while doing so?”


Dear Lord, please work in us so that your will be done as we humbly show justice, kindness and love to your people. Amen

"For what we do to rehabilitate them [the hurting, diminished and dehumanized], to serve them, we are doing as to our Lord himself." - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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