louder than words

There is a story that has been passed around the internet about a battle that raged between a Texas church and a local bar owner. As the story goes, there was a little church in Texas, next to some vacant property. Over time, a man purchased that property and proceeded to erect a bar on it. When the members of the church found out about what was to become of the property, many of them became quite upset.

The church began a campaign to keep the man from being able to build the bar in that location. When that campaign was unsuccessful, and the bar was finally built and eventually opened, the members of the church took it upon themselves to begin to protest outside of the bar every Friday and Saturday evening. Though the protests were unsuccessful in winning many converts over the church’s cause, the protesting church members hoped that at the very least their presence would be an annoyance to potential customers, driving them away and eventually forcing the closing of the bar. Unfortunately for the church, their plan backfired. Many of the patrons of the bar grew angry with the church members for protesting, and made an explicit point of patronizing the bar every weekend, just to ensure that it would remain open.

With battle lines firmly drawn in the sand, this situation represented the status quo for a number of years. One spring, a vicious storm blew in, seemingly from nowhere. While the church was left with only minimal damage, the bar was virtually destroyed. Seeing this as a mandate from God, the church rejoiced at the seemingly divine justice that had been delivered upon the owner of the bar. Angry at the attitude of the church, the bar owner filed a lawsuit against the church, claiming that the bar had been destroyed by “an act of God,” for which the church’s prayers were directly responsible. The members of the church, believing such a lawsuit to be ridiculous, argued that they could in no way be responsible for such “an act of God,” and prepared to defend themselves in court.

When the day finally arrived, the judge walked into the court room. Once everyone was seated, the judge opened with the following statement. “Regardless of how I choose to rule in this case, the irony is not lost on me that I am faced with choosing between a bar owner who absolutely believes in the power of God, and a church that absolutely does not.”

They say that actions speak louder than words. With that in mind, isn’t it interesting how often our actions fail to coincide with what we say that we believe? Your actions are an indicator not only of your beliefs, but also of your priorities. When your actions don’t match your priorities, then you are very likely experiencing a crisis of meaning. Either you feel that you don’t have enough time to get to the things that are important, or you’ve found that what you thought you believed in isn’t what is lived out in your life. If you want to be more content with who you are this year, then spend some time purposefully aligning your actions with your beliefs. You may find that you have to reprioritize parts of your life, but the end result will be well worth the effort.

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