“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18 NRSV).
When I read this passage I immediately think of the old adage, “Talk is cheap.” The bottom line is this, words are important and words matter. Many people, myself included, have been victim to words that are used like a dagger with pinpoint accuracy to the heart. Once there is a wound the bleeding is tremendous. Words do matter.
In his message to the churches in Corinth, Paul acknowledges that words matter; however, in the case of the cross, our words mean absolutely nothing if not supported with actions. We are called to service. Our interpretation of holy texts and exegetical pronouncements are great, but if such highly intellectual conclusions are not lived out by what we do, then all of the research really means nothing.
We are called to be a people of action. What we do and why we do it must combine to demonstrate the love of Christ to our world. As Christ’s disciples, we must engage the world and lead not only by our words, but by our deeds. If someone is hungry it is far more important to feed them than to lecture and carry on about the wonders of our faith. Through our actions of kindness one can experience the ever present love of Christ. We tap into the power of salvation by letting our lives be a witness to the service of humanity.
It is important to note, as any good Wesleyan minister should, that this does not mean that what we do plays any role in our salvation. Our actions are an expression of that which has changed us from the inside out. God is the one who saves us. Our works flow out of us like a deep flowing well offering the way to everlasting life. We may lead the way to the well, but there is only one who gives the water which sustains us. That one is God. The water which we drink is a free gift offered to all those who thirst. Let us lead others to God so that they may never thirst again. As we lead people to the source, we will experience over and over the radical love that God has for humanity. And in response to that love, God continues to give us a Savior. That one is Jesus. May you experience the Spirit in ways you never knew existed.