Preaching By Our Deeds

 2 Timothy 4:1-22

“In the presence of GOD and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearance and his kingdom, I give you this charge; Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Preach the Word! This has always brought visions of the man who stands atop a plastic container at the Rockies games and shouts to people going into and coming out of the game. He shouts about repentance and going to hell if we don’t change our ways. To be honest it has always turned me off of the term preaching or evangelizing. I thought this until I heard from my brother a saying of St. Francis “Preach the Gospel everyday, and sometimes use words.”

This was what I thought a follower of Jesus would do… and would say. But, I found out a few years later that St. Francis did not exactly say this J. What he said, or actually what he wrote, was in Chapter XVII of his rule of 1221. St. Francis told his friars not to preach unless they had the proper permission to do so. Then he added, “Let all the brothers preach by their deeds.”

And I think this is even more wonderful than what my brother had told me he thought St. Francis had said. It is important to preach the good news verbally, but it is even more important to preach the gospel by our actions, through our hearts, our minds, and our strength.

The word preach (preached, preaching) is used 52 times in the bible. The word heal (healed, healing, heals) is used 152 times in the bible. Jesus preached. He preached to the 5,000, to the 4,000, and he preached to individuals and small groups. But Jesus did more than preach with his words. He preached with his heart, he preached with his mind, and he preached with his strength.

If words are what you feel will heal, then use them. But if words cannot heal, then tears, or a hug, or a kiss, or holding a hand, or even just being there silently will evangelize even more than you will ever know. AMEN!

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit, help us to preach with more than our words. Help us to preach with our hearts, with our minds, with our strength. LORD, provide us with words, but please LORD in every case, even with words, let us preach by our deeds! AMEN!

Jim Dietvorst

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