Indeed 'action speaks louder than word' but there is something which is much more powerful than action and that is persistence.
The parable we hear today tells us what persistence means. It is a story that involved three friends. For convenience I call them friend number one, two and three. The friend number one arrived unexpectedly to friend number two asking for food. The friend number two had nothing to offer he then went to the friend number three for help. The friend number three gave reasons for not helping because the door was bolted and he and his family were in bed. There are different levels of friendship amongst them. The poor friend number one and two were willing to help but they could not. The friend number three was able to help but not willing to do so. Determination and persistence of the friend number two made the friend number three changed his mind. Persistence is the ability to continue to work steadily despite problems or difficulties. Persistence allows us to achieve where otherwise we might fail. We understand that much of what matters in life requires persistence. It requires time and effort but it is worth to pursue it. We sometimes need to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable and the prize is rewarding.
In serving others in the name of Christ we need persistence and determination for the ministry. It is a narrow door but it leads to true life and love. The opposite of persistence in spirituality is temptation. I think the evil spirit employs the stubbornness to tempt us. We know that a temptation appears and reappears several times later. Stubbornness is similar to persistence but it isn't the same. Stubbornness conceals bad intension and is harmful while persistence aims to achieve goodness with compassion and a loving heart. To counterattack temptation we employ persistence to resist against it. When we meet temptations we use determine in our prayers to combat against it. In serving we sometime feel that we are motivated; other times we feel that we are flat and want to give up.
Our ministry or our faith in Christ is ups and downs and that is normal. The final triumph is for those who firmly believe in Jesus till the end. When faced with challenge and difficulties we need not give up but we need determination and persistence in prayers. It allows us to keep on going even when we don't feel motivated. Troubles come and go. They never stay forever. With God's grace our persistence is stronger than any temptation. In serving we sometimes feel our contribution to the community is like waves hitting seashore and our efforts vanished into thin air. Waves do move sand and persistence removes temptations. Persistence is the ability to continue to do regardless of your feelings. Like the poor friend number two who continued to knock. We keep knocking and ask for the courage to go on even when we only hear the stillness of the dark night. Persistence would never leave you returning home with empty hand.