The Value of Words
And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. - Matthew 5:36-37
Imagine for a moment that you are living in Jesus' time. It is before Jesus has begun His public ministry. He is a carpenter in your local town of Nazareth. You have asked Jesus to make a table for you. You're on a deadline and you must have it in a week. You agree on the price of $100 for the table and the date of one week for completion. A week later you arrive to pick up the table. You lay your money down on the table and Jesus says, "Mr. Johnson, I am sorry but the table is not ready. I ran into complications. Also, I can no longer honor the price I gave you. It is now $150 instead of $100."
Two years later you hear about this same Jesus who is preaching to the local townspeople. How are you going to view this Jesus? You probably won't give much credence to His message because of your personal experience. Our lives have an ability to reinforce the message we stand for, or they can violate it and make it totally ineffective. This literally happens all over the world in different settings with Christian workplace believers. Our message becomes ineffective because we have not done what we said.
I know people who, when they tell me they plan to do something, I can expect them to follow through about 50 percent of the time. I am sure you have had the same experience. Words and commitments are made with little meaning behind those words. However, I know others who will follow through almost every time. The only time they don't is when something falls outside their control. I quickly learn whose words have substance behind them.
There are times when we are unable to perform or deliver what we promised due to outside influences. The key to turning these potentially negative circumstances into a witness for Christ is communication. If we are unable to pay a bill on time, we must communicate with those we owe and make a good faith effort to resolve it within our means. In these cases, God's purposes are being performed as well if we seek to do the right thing.
Do your words mean anything to those who hear them? Do you make commitments and fail to follow through on them? What would others say about how you follow through? Ask the Lord today to show you how you are doing in this area. You might even want to ask three people who are the closest to you how you fare in this area.
(by Os Hillman, from Today God Is First, Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. Copyright 2000)