I can’t remember who it was that I once heard say, “Talking about a thing is not the same thing as doing it.” Like many of the better quotes that we hear or read, we may remember the substance well after we’ve forgotten the source. It might be that it was one of the old farmers that I heard talking around the stove in the back of Merritt Jordan’s store in Browns Grove, Kentucky. It might be that it was my dad. I guess, at least in this case, crediting the quote’s original author might be less important than recognizing its truth.
Most of the men around whom I grew up held that the doing of a good thing was more worthwhile than talking about it. Not that there was any shortage of talkers around Browns Grove, or anywhere else I’ve ever lived. It was just that the folks who mattered most to me were the ones less preoccupied with conversation and more devoted to the doing.
I remember them and this from time to time. Sometimes that memory eases its way into my consciousness during a committee meeting. Sometimes it pops up when I walk through the college bookstore. And, every now and then it will emerge when I’m listening to a Christian radio station.
Singing about how much I love to praise God is not the same thing as praising him. Singing about how much I love to do his will is not the same thing as doing it. There is a subtle yet powerful distinction in the lesson and language of a lyric. Whenever we truly worship, our focus is completely upon the object of our worship.
No matter how great or genuine my love or praise or devotion, it will never be worthy of my own admiration.