Balancing Good Works and the Gospel

Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  The gospel is basically Jesus dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and resurrecting on the third day.  This quote is an often used by pastors when speaking about doing good deeds and evangelism.   They seem to want to communicate to their congregation, do good works and you won’t need to say anything; people will ask you about your life and open a door for sharing.  Is this what Saint Francis of Assisi really meant?

I wonder how many have read a biography on the life of Saint Francis.  I read a biography called, “Saint Francis of Assisi” by John Moorman.  In this book we see him preaching the Gospel like crazy and sharing Christ all the time.  However, he also lived in poverty and daily did good works just like the Jesus did during his earthly ministry.  Saint Francis was just preaching a balance, we need to live like Jesus but we also need to verbally share the truth like Jesus.  I am glad Paul and others didn't wait until they had done some good deeds before they preached Jesus to others or Christianity never would have gotten off the ground.  They walked into Synagogues and when it was their turn to speak, they got into debates with the religious leaders.  They shared the truth in every town they entered, even before doing good deeds.  The early Apostles showed love through their preaching about what Jesus did on the cross. 

In my casual spiritual conversations, I show love with my words as I share my faith.  Using good conversational tactics and learning how to share without shoving the truth down their throat, is a great way to show you care and still share the gospel.  Good works are important and our words are supported by living a life like Jesus.  This quote by Saint Francis, taken out of the context of balance, is a great excuse for not sharing your faith.  My paraphrase of his quote is “Preach the Gospel at all times with words and deeds.”

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