I once heard the story of the man who picked up his small son and stood him on a table. The boy looked at his daddy, then glanced down at the floor, which seemed a great distance below his tiny feet. The father held out his arms and said, "Jump! I will catch you."
The boy, quite afraid of the height, cried, "No, daddy, I’m scared! What if you miss?"
"I’m your big strong daddy," the man said. "Of course I won’t miss. Jump!"
The little boy looked again as his papa’s arms, then down to the floor, and began crying in earnest. "No, daddy, I’m afraid!"
A stern look in his eyes, the man said again, "Jump! I will catch you! Jump, boy!"
As a feeling of hope swirled around inside him, the little boy lifted his eyes from the floor so far below and fixed them firmly on the arms of his father. Then, crouching slightly to launch himself, he sprung off the table to his dad’s waiting arms…
…only his dad was no longer there. He took a quick step backwards and let the little boy fall to the floor. The little one, shocked and hurt, said, "Daddy, you moved; you let me fall!" To which his father replied, "That will teach you never to trust nobody!"
I grew up in a home where my dad’s word was his bond. His promise was no less powerful than a signed, notarized contract. I think about his generation and the way business was often done with a handshake. Promises were most often kept. My dad also taught me to be wary of those whose promises were regularly broken. In his car business, he knew the ones who brought a vehicle in for repairs and would want to pick it up, promising to pay him later. His principle was simple: when you pay, you get your car back. That might sound harsh, but it kept his customers honest and kept his bills paid.
King Solomon, known for his wise sayings, knew something about those powerful things we call words. He said, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." (Proverbs 25:11 English Standard Version) I find this proverb both beautiful and challenging in this day when so many promises are made and so few are kept. Becoming a person who says what she means and means what she says might quickly distinguish someone, in the home, in the school, in the church, in the neighborhood and in the marketplace.
You probably won’t be surprised that Jesus spoke of the power of promises. That’s the topic this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. On our "From here to where?" journey, Jesus set a high standard for the way our word must be our bond. Hope you can be there. If you can’t, catch the podcast!