“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ for whatever is more than these is from the evil one.’
(Matthew 5:37 in the Holy Bible)
I am going to wade into some deep water on this subject. I am not going to be profound just simple. As I write this I must first look at my failures and myself but that will not detour me from what needs to be said on this subject.
Over and over I have people telling me a simple thing like ‘I’ll phone you in the morning’. The next morning I will not leave the office waiting for the call. I try to stay off the public line so the call can come through. I refuse to do something that takes me out of the office because’¦someone said they would call and I am sure they will. However you guessed it! They never called and I mean ‘never’.
It confounds me again and again. But my wife Denise says many times to me ‘they don’t mean it’, ‘they will not do that’. She is right but my nature is to believe over and over again.
Did they lie, forget or not care. Did their promise of a phone call or letter or e-mail etc just pass through their mind like the wind?
Now I sometimes forget and so do you. But this is beyond a once in a while forgetfulness. It is a pattern of life for many people. I find it is even worse in the religious field than the secular. News reporters and media people almost always keep their appointments, preachers seldom do. I can say this from experiences dating back to the early 60’s. That is over 40 years of being a public person in contact with hundreds of preachers and media people. This is sad but true.
I particularly think of the unsolicited offer of a phone call or letter or action. You meet someone and right on the spot they are offering to do something for you. Of course in time you find the offer is forgotten as soon as it is made. Many religious members have picked up the pattern of the ministers.
Over and over in our travels, crosswalks or preaching, people come up and say something like this ‘The Lord has told me to give you a very big donation, or a part of my business’ or do something for you. They tell you impressive people they know and how much money they make or will make. Again I can assure you this person never calls, writes or sends any money or does the project they offered on their own to do. I hear offers so often I have learned to dismiss them on the spot. Should you not intend to do something then what is the reason for bringing up the subject or speaking about it?
The person that is led of the Lord “Just Does It’. With no grand announcement they send a check or make arrangements for you or do the helpful thing. The person seeking you out and telling you what they will do seldom do what they say. Wow!
Some of you may not know what I am talking about but most of you have experienced the same things.
I would just like to encourage you to be careful about what you say you will do and will not do in your daily life. You are leaving people behind in confusion or hurt or disappointment.
I try to keep my commitments few enough to fulfill. I will not promise to call unless I do really plan to. I keep a notepad on my office desk with a ‘To Do’ list. At home I have a notepad beside my chair and bedside to write down anything I need to do. This helps me keep my promises. When a person calls and asks me to do something I write that down and then seek to carry it through. Should I not be able to do something then I phone or write and let them know the status of the project or what the response is.
When you ask a person to do something no matter how little or insignificant take the time to say thank you.
I am quite shocked that often a person asks me to do something for them. I take the time and effort often spending hours researching their question or finding the answer. I then e-mail them or send them the information or answer. So many times I must phone them and ask ‘Did you get the information? I know it is important to you and I have not heard from you, did you get it?’ “Oh, yes I did. I intended to let you know but just didn’t get round to it!’ Should you want something done then take the time, it will take only one minute of your time to acknowledge that you got the information.
Don’t say you will help someone and not do it. Don’t offer to give a ride and then not show up on time. Oh, dear friends our procrastinating habits or intended behavior leaves a lot of hurting people behind and in time is very destructive.
I remember one occasion when Denise and I were in a church visiting. The pastor interrupted his sermon to recognize us and say soon he would be having us there to preach. Of course you guessed it. He never asked and I have seen him several times during the past two or three years and he has never asked me to speak. How strange. He announced publicly that he would ask me to speak and the crowd applauded. I never expected to preach there but his public announcement and his state of mind is so common. He said something he never intended to do.
Not one in every hundred of such statements etc. ever follows through.
So many times I must tell and encourage younger preachers and believers with a project of some type not to be offended at such typical behavior. Don’t take it personally I say. It’s just normal. The person is told how they will be helped then nothing happens and they are shattered. Don’t say to some person needing support on a mission trip or to a missionary that you will do something and then just drop it and not follow through.
So often one is tempted to say what they think the person wants to hear. You think it makes you look good and impressive. You get addicted to saying things you think others want you to say and you seek only to please them and then run from your commitments.
A friend of mine in a large TV ministry says ‘show me the money’. Ha! “I’ll meet with that person after the check clears.’ Ha! Now don’t take his words the wrong way. What he is saying is that so often people want to meet with him promising to give a huge donation. They have the meeting, the person got what they wanted and the money or promise never appears.
Should you tell you grandmother you will visit then ‘visit’ her or don’t say that you will. She will wait for months or years for you and you never come. “Dad, I’ll call you tomorrow night’ but the call doesn’t come. Many of us with vain promises leave behind hurt family and friends.
I have sought for a long time never to make a commitment that I don’t think I can keep. It often is hard to say no, or not to make an offer when there is a need of some type. However, be careful that you don’t get into a habit of offering unintended promises that you never even plan to keep.
I just leave the response up to you. As for me I have resolved to be very clear in what I will and will not do.
“Lord, mold us into Your Image!’
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt