1 John 3:18: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
We are all familiar with the old adage “actions speak louder than words.” Most of us have experienced moments when actions did indeed speak much louder than anything someone may have said. It may have been a kind word from a stranger, a harsh word from a friend, or one of many other countless possibilities. Regardless of your particular experience, the old saying is true, actions do often speak much louder than words.
In recent weeks, I have had the pleasure and honor of observing actions speaking. Just before Christmas of 2020, I met Jermaine Williams, the owner of Pete Williams BBQ. I received a phone call asking if Jermaine could use the church parking lot to serve 250 free meals for anyone who might need a warm plate of food during the Christmas season. I was delighted that St. Patrick’s could be of assistance.
Since that first encounter, Jermaine’s actions have spoken many times. In January, he cooked for our National Championship tailgate party, and during Lent, he cooked for our Lenten fish fry fundraiser, which proved to be a very successful event (with the help of Greg and Dianna Bonaventure, and Susan, Don, and Charlotte Leese we raised around $3,000). In addition to offering his gifts and talents to the life and ministry of St. Patrick’s, during this same period of time Jermaine has organized multiple events, giving away thousands of plates of food.
Most recently, Jermaine traveled to Pflugerville, Texas, just outside of Austin, to feed 500 people who were heavily impacted by the winter storm in late February. I was honored to be a part of this trip and to observe Jermaine in action. After driving 6.5 hours to Pflugerville on Friday afternoon, Jermaine, along with his wife, Tamika, and their three children, went to work at 6am on a Saturday morning. They boiled beans, cooked rice, and fried chicken the entire morning in preparation for an 11am kickoff. Once the event started, Jermaine, his family, and the entire team (which included our very own Larry Manuel) served a continuous flow of people for 2.5 hours, until all 500 plates had been given away. At which point they spent about an hour cleaning up, loaded up the truck and drove back to Zachary.
If we agree that actions do speak louder than words, what are these actions saying? The first time I met Jermaine, one of the questions I asked was, “why are you giving away meals?” His answer: “People got to eat.” This answer is as profound as it simple. When people are hungry, you feed them. When they are thirsty, you give them something to drink. When they are grieving, you comfort them. When they are joyous, you celebrate with them. As people of faith, we are called to meet people where they are and act accordingly.
Scripture reminds us numerous times that as followers of Christ we are called to be people of action. Actions which know and make known the love and grace found in Christ Jesus. In his first letter, John says it this way, “little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
May the love of God’s kingdom, found in Christ, be an ever present and burning reminder that our actions speak louder than our words and that we are called to be people of BOLD actions in order to proclaim to the world the Good News of God’s love and grace.