Monday, August 30, 2010

Making Promises

Waffles are good for Breakfast, but not for Promises

Garrison Keillor, in Leaving Home, wrote about one of his characters in Lake Wobegon, that he is never willing to make plans. The guy just cannot make a commitment, and he says things like: I’m not saying we can, but if the weather holds, and nothing goes wrong, and nothing more pressing comes up, maybe we can go, but I can’t promise anything, so don’t get your hopes up. His children wanted to kill him because they couldn't make any plans with him, even when they were grown.

Talk like this makes everyone around us unsettled and uncertain. It says no one can rely on us for anything.

I know why we do it. We don’t want to say no, but we’re scared to say yes, so we waffle. We need to do better.

“I’ll be there if I can make it,” means I won’t be there.

“I’ll try,” means I’ll fail.

“I’ll do my best,” means I won’t do my best.

When I think about Keillor’s character, it gives me a different perspective on Jesus words, “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’”(Matthew 5:37). I also think about how he told a church that he wished they would be hot or cold rather than lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16). He means for us to state ourselves clearly, make definite commitments, and keep them.

It’s one thing to count the cost. We need to make wise commitments. But there are commitments that we should make. At some point, we need to state clearly what we are going to do, and then do it, even if it costs more than we thought it would.

"Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? He who keeps his oath even when it hurts." (Ps. 15:1, 4)

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