“This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.
The problem is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age.”
I’ve run into this very quote and situation numerous times, each time the implication being that we need to be ‘actionally active’ and ‘verbally passive’, or something like that. It’s as if we read the book of Acts and ignore the great sermons (which to me seem to be the thrust of much of the book) and say that actually we just need to keep quiet and get on with it.
Of course, this isn’t true; the gospel needs to be preached verbally and through the effective preaching of the Word the Holy Spirit regenerates hearts to serve Him well too, providing another effective witness.
But our culture has for much part lost the value of words, and so little mantras like the one above (for it really is like a religious chant) slip in, sound cool, but if left unchecked can be quite dangerous, especially to a young Christian mind.
So let us continue in the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2) so we might use wisdom and discernment in dealing with the bombardment of ideas jumping our way, that we might sift out truth and discard error.
We’re in a shooting war and we can’t afford to put down the rifles that God has given us to advance his Kingdom. The preaching of the Word by the Holy Spirit is powerful, life-changing and glorious. He has promised the power of it to us (Isa. 55:11) and we have witnessed it ourselves. We must not get muddled and confused where God has spoken plain and clearly.