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Deuteronomy 4:5-6
“See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely, this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”

“Preach Christ always, and, if you must, use words,” St. Francis of Assisi is attributed with saying, and that quote has ruffled many feathers in protestant, evangelical circles. Pastors rightly point to Romans 10:14, where Paul writes, “How are they to believe in him of whom they’ve never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”, and also to our Lord’s great commission in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation,” in rebuttal to it. I mean, the very fact that we even have Scriptures at all is because God deemed words to be essential for gospel advancement. Still, it really isn’t either/or, but both/and. The disciple who thinks he can live an isolationist existence, writing volumes of expositions and commentaries and devotionals but never reaching out a hand to help his hurting neighbor, and the philanthropist who bruises her knees from washing the feet of orphans but who never speaks a word of Christ to them, are both missing a crucial element of their sacred calling. To speak volumes but never serve, and to serve fearlessly but never speak, is to be half an evangelist.

That said, when a church leans too heavily on the side of preaching, when vocation becomes fundamentally rooted in vocalization, when the assembly has a wealth of good seminarians but a dearth of good Samaritans, the body becomes bloated at one end and anemic at the other. That’s why I’m challenged by Moses’ words here in Deuteronomy 4:5-6. As he prepares these pilgrims to advance into foreign lands, he reminds them that their daily adherence to God’s law will catch the eyes of an unbelieving world, establishing the principle that evangelism begins with devotion.

Friend, stand out in your world today by living out God’s Word through the Spirit’s help. And as you stand, trust that God will give you the words to speak too.