All Talk, No Action
by Frank Himmel
Why is it that we talk about things for so long before doing them, at times to the exclusion of doing them?
To the extent that discussion is part of planning, it is good to talk before doing. Several proverbs commend thinking ahead. “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory” (11:14). “…the prudent man considers his steps” (14:15). “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advan-tage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty” (21:5). Much time and effort are wasted by failure to adequately plan. However, not all talk is planning.
Sometimes we talk but don’t do because the thing we are talking about is really beyond reach. It is but a dream.
Fear may be the problem. One might talk about a thing for a while as a means of rousing his courage. Or, his conversation may amount to nothing more than an acknowledgment of what should be done – all the while he knows he is too fearful of failure or opposition to ever try.
Extended conversation may reflect indecision. Have you ever been in a group where a decision was reached, yet long after that, people were still discussing its merits rather than working toward its implementation? The culprit is indecision; we really aren’t committed to the task. Indecision means that nothing is done. It can be as debilitating as poor decisions.
Talk may be idle boasting. It may stand alone because of laziness or other priorities. Yet somehow, talking about things, especially things we know we ought to do, makes us feel better about them. And therein lies the danger. We can confuse talking about a subject with genuine interest or even progress in that area.
Talk is no substitute for action. Elders can plan the best possible program of work or study, but if we never get around to doing it, no good will be done. Saying we need to visit the sick does nothing to comfort them. Does merely talking about brethren overtaken in a trespass restore them? Likewise, discussing the importance of spreading the gospel does not save souls.
Parents, simply threatening unruly children – “If you do that one more time…” – accomplishes nothing. No, punishment for bad behavior is what establishes the boundary.
Some folks talk about making their lives right with God. And talk. And talk. “And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16).
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