Monday, March 7, 2011

Making an Impression or Making an Impact

“It is no use walking anywhere to preach

unless our walking is our preaching.”

~ Francis of Assisi ~

Actions do speak louder than words.  Not only louder, but clearer and truer.  Our behavior is more keenly who we are, while our words may simply be what we say we are.

The old axiom goes, "Say what you mean, and mean what you say."

Words are about making an impression.  Actions are about making an impact. 

In today's society, image is everything, or so we are constantly being told.  Dress for success.  Make an entrance.  Own the room.  Work it, work it, work it... but the "it" being worked isn't real.  It is just an impression, an image, a chimera.

I learned a little poem in Vacation Bible School many years ago, that I have never been able to forget, even during those times in my life when I would have liked to be able to ignore its plaintive message.  It went like this ....

What you are, speaks so loud
That the world can't hear what you say.
They're looking at your walk,
Not listening to your talk,
They're judging by your actions everyday.

Don't believe, you'll deceive
By claiming what you never knew.
They'll accept what they see,
And know you to be.
They'll judge by your life alone.
     (author unknown)

Sociologists tell us that we each have 17 people watching our lives.  I don't know who my seventeen folks are, but I truly do not want to lead them astray, or let them down.  Let us, then, be careful to walk our talk, rather than simply talking about the walk, or thinking about the walk, but never bothering to actually do the walking.
                                           * * *
A few years ago, while in Italy, we visited the village of Assisi where St. Francis lived and preached.  It is a beautiful hilltop village, but the terrain is steep.  I mean, makes-you-out-of-breath-to-climb-to-the-top, steep.  You would need to be a very disciplined and physically fit person to do any "walking and preaching" in that town.  But the view was worth the climb!


  1. Wondering who my 17 people are? Maybe if I can keep in mind that there are real, tangible people watching I'll be more consistent in how I walk. Great post!

  2. Very good post! I had never read about the 17 people.

  3. Seventeen people watching my life.... Something good to keep in mind.

  4. Such a great reminder to DO what we KNOW already!! I always need to focus on who I am and where God has me.


  5. So glad to have found your blog through DJ Hughes . . . I loved this post and I am reminded of the saying, "You might be the only Bible someone ever reads." I've taught my boys this and I must daily surrender to the Spirit . . . without His help I have no hope of being the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus.
    Blessings to you!

  6. Have a safe and great trip to Ireland! Should be beautiful in the spring!

    Thanks for your post! I do know at least 15 people who watch my life - my 3 kids and their spouses and the 9 grands! God give my grace and patience and loads of love!

  7. You make me think Marsha! Do I make an impression or an impact? Hmmm . . . ENJOY IRELAND!

  8. 17 people watching; I never heard that stat before. Thanks for sharing. If we proclaim to be Christians, people are watching. Some are trying to see if we mess up or are we real. I've found that as I go through challenges, that's when many are really watching. How do I deal with disappointments? I'm not always the best example but I pray for God's strength and grace.

    I'm on a different computer. For some reason, I have trouble accessing your blog and Diane's on my computer. I don't know why. But I miss visiting you, so it's worth it to get on this computer to catch up with you. I noticed that Cherie Hill commented above. I read her book "Be Still" and it was such a comfort and help to me. She's become a friend too.

    Thinking of you and sending hugs,

  9. Oh my I meant to write Denise not Diane.