“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.”
One of the hardest lessons I ever tried to teach my daughter is, “actions speak louder than words.” You can tell me anything you want to tell me, but unless you back those words up with actions, your words don’t carry a lot of meaning.
I used to tell her this story: Imagine that a kid in school came up to you every day and said, “I really like you! You’re my best friend in the world.” And then they hauled off and punched you in the jaw. Every day it was the same thing – “I like you,” and “Wham!” How much would their words mean to you if they were always followed by a punch to the jaw?
On the other hand, imagine someone who never told you they liked you, but every day found a way to do something nice to you. Which of those two people would you actually count as a friend?
That’s the same basic principle at work in today’s scripture. One son says, “Dad, I’m there for you,” but never showed up for work. Meanwhile, the other son said “I’m not coming,” but then changed his mind and showed up. Clearly, in that case, the son who did the work was the one who made his father happy. His actions spoke volumes more than his words.
You can make all of the promises you want to make – to your friends, to your family, to God. But unless you back those promises up with actions, your words will ultimately be empty. And perhaps even worse than that, people will learn that they can’t count on what you say.
Today, think about all of the things that you want to do, both today and in the the future. Pray that the Lord will help you follow through on the things you’ve committed to, and also that He will help you to always put actions to your words.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.