Confession: I am an extrovert who does not like silence. I am the kind of person to speak simply to cut the quiet. It is a terrible trait, I know, but I have reconciled by indiscretions.
So as I sat in the lack of noise of a Monday morning, letting God’s Word speak loudly, I ran across a familiar story. In Luke 7, there is the narrative of Jesus dining at Simon’s, a Pharisee’s house. Amid the meal, a woman, simply described as a “sinner,” slips in and begins washing the feet of Jesus with her tears. She takes her hair and wipes away the dust and mud of the town’s streets. It even tells us that she begins to kiss his feet. Then she takes a jar of perfumed oil and places the oil on his feet. Anointing them, the Bible tells us.
Read: Who is the Man?
I know, I know…If you are a faithful reader of this blog, we write “guy stuff.” We write for men to be more godly and more like the Lord. So hang with me. There is a lesson from the unnamed woman in the Gospel of Luke.
There is something for each of us to gain. So keep reading.
As a self-proclaimed Bible nerd, I like to look at all the possible angles of a passage. I want to see from the narrator’s perspective, the on-lookers, the characters directly involved. So in this passage, you have Jesus, Simon the Pharisee, the other dinner guests, possibly people peering in windows just to get a glimpse of Jesus, and an unnamed woman simply addressed as a “sinner.”
A Quiet Faith
As I peer through the looking-glass of the unnamed woman, I see that she never spoke a word. She never muttered a syllable, at least in the recording of the incident. Yet, her actions loudly spoke over the silence of her speech. It was the quiet splash of tears on Jesus’ toes. It was the unheard wiping of her hair. It was the silent pour of perfume to anoint his feet. Never a word.
Yet, Jesus, at the end of the passage, looks at her with forgiveness and says something incredible,
“Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”
She never spoke. She never recounted her sins verbally, which, according to the parable, were many in the middle of the story. Yet, Jesus forgives her and acknowledges her faith.
This shook me, again as a needing noise extrovert. I am a guy who writes and speaks for a living. I love words… then this thought sucker-punched me. Maybe Jesus does not always need my many words, but sometimes needs my silent actions. Perhaps the most courageous, faith-filled thing I can do is cry at his feet and never say a word. Maybe my nose is a clanging cymbal when he desires actions of love.
Let me clarify. I do not suggest we quit praying aloud, confessing our sins, or sharing our faith. But at least for me and maybe for you, you read this passage in the Gospel of Luke and say, “maybe the Lord doesn’t always need all my words.” To quote the other king, Elvis Presley, “a little less conversation and a little more action, please” may just be the requirement for our faith.
Faith without works is dead, according to the brother of Jesus, James. James doesn’t say faith without “words” is dead. But challenges us to action, to doing, to living out our faith. So let’s take action. Let’s live out this faith, and that may just not require us to speak to make it known.
Jeff Pitts is a church planter in Cleveland, TN. He loves his family, coffee, and NEEDTOBREATHE.