“…and if necessary, use words.”
St. Francis of Assisi said we should preach the gospel, and if necessary, with words.
Or did he?
The online source called Wikiquotes has a dozen or more variations of the “preach the gospel; if necessary use words” line. But they say, there is no indication St. Francis ever said anything of the sort.
I suspect the reason that line appeals to many of us is that we tire of all the wordiness of God’s people, frequently as a substitute for action. The danger is we may react too far in the opposite direction.
Words are a big, big deal to the Lord God–the One who spoke the world into being!–as well as to believers. We hold in our hands a book we call “The Word,” and the pastor brings God’s message from it every Sunday.
“Take with you words and turn to the Lord,” the prophet Hosea told Israel (14:2).
Words are so important that the Lord Jesus Himself is called The Word (John 1:1ff.).
And yet, there are times when words get in the way, and quietness is called for.