No Flip Flops
Last month, one of the young ladies from our church approached me for permission to take our daughter, Jazzy, along with a few other children, to a local amusement park as sort of an "end of the summer celebration". This same young lady would be responsible for their transportation to and from the park and purchasing their entry tickets. After some thought (and getting over the temptation of feeling a little envious that I wasn't invited because I LOVE roller coasters), we agreed that she could go.
The week before the outing, the young lady confirmed that she was ready for their day of fun: she purchased the entry tickets and rented a car because hers would not accommodate the group of six or seven children that would be going. She spent her money, time and energy making sure this would be a memorable time.
A few days before the date, we agreed on the time she would arrive to pick up Jazzy. Everything was set.
That morning, she picked up Jazzy as planned, but no other children were in the car with her. And there wouldn't be. She reported that sometime in the 24 hours before, all the other children had cancelled. Some made other plans. Others changed their minds.
Although Jazzy and the young lady still went and had a great time, it didn't change the fact that people didn't honor their word -- for whatever reason.
There is a story in the Bible about the time when Jesus returned to Capernaum and healed a paralyzed man:
Everyone in town was talking about His arrival and made plans to go to the house where He was staying. There was a paralyzed man who also heard the news and wanted to go.
I can imagine him asking his buddies if they would take him to see Jesus:
"Hey, "Tony"! I have a favor to ask."
"Sure, "Bob"! What's going on?"
"Well, I heard that Jesus is back in town and I've been lying here thinking that if I could just get to Him, I know I will walk again. Do you think you can take me? We'd have to take my whole bed, though, because they haven't invented chairs with wheels yet."
"Yeh. I heard that He is back. I had planned on going. Wow! Your whole bed, hunh? OK. Sure thing! I'll be at your house at 6:00!"
The Bible doesn't mention this part, but I imagine that Bob called upon more than that one friend to help him. Because he knew that getting to Jesus was no easy feat, I figure he probably enlisted the help of about 9 to 10 other people and they all agreed they would be there at the appointed time. Yet, hours later, his friends begin to the bail on him. One by one, they probably gave excuses of why they were no longer able to assist him. Maybe they thought about how heavy carrying him on his bed would actually be. Maybe they thought it would be better if they went alone. Maybe they woke up with headaches. Maybe they wanted to go with their families. Maybe...
But there were four friends who knew they gave their word to Bob and kept it!
The four men arrived at Bob's and carried him on his bed to the house where Jesus was preaching. But when they arrived, they found there was standing room only, both inside and out. They couldn't get through the front door. But they were determined to fulfill their commitments.
One of them had a "MacGyver plan" to lift Bob to the roof. Once they were there, they dug through the clay roof and lowered their paralyzed friend right in front of Jesus! Seeing their faith, Jesus forgave the man's sins and healed him.
I believe that not only was the paralyzed man blessed that day, but because his friends kept their word -- even though it was challenging -- they were blessed as well.
How many times have we agreed to do something for someone else but when that time came, we changed our minds and backed out? Parents, when was the last time you told your child you would give them __________ if they _____________ but when the time came to pay up, you didn't? How many times have you told someone you would call them back but never did? How many times have you said you were going to __________ and didn't?
We've all had reasons for not keeping our word. Some may even say they were "legit reasons". But the question remains:
Can people count on me to do what I say?
The answer is a matter of integrity. When we don't keep our word, our integrity and character comes into question. The more you flip flop, the less trusting people are of you. They begin to doubt your trustworthiness. They may even begin to doubt your Christianity.
A wise person won't give you an "answer on the fly" because they know how powerful their words are. But they count the costs before committing.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him," ~ Luke 14:28-29 (NKJV)
As Christians, we represent more than ourselves. We represent Christ. Christ keeps His Word. He keeps His promises. As Christ's ambassadors, people should be able to count on us to do what we say. People should be able to count on us to keep our word.
My challenge to myself and those reading this WHOAment is to:
1. Consider the cost before obliging yourself. (Think before you speak. It's OK to say "Let me get back to you." It's also OK to say "No".)
2. Honor your commitment. (If you said "yes", you've committed. Don't flip flop!)
3. Keep your word! (Follow through.)
"The integrity of the upright shall guide them; But the perverseness of the treacherous shall destroy them."
~ Proverbs 11:3 (ASV)
Simple enough, right? Let's do it!