“Oh, I’m sorry, Diane deals with accounts and she is in a meeting right now. I will get her to call you back a little later.”
If you are living in the 21st century you will not expect a return call from Diane. You may wonder whether the receptionist gave the message at all. Either way you will have to call again. More time wasted, more irritation, less credibility, less service!
Do we take our own words seriously?
Jesus told a parable about a farmer who asked his two sons to go and work in his vineyard. The elder son replied “No, I won’t go,” but changed his mind and went anyway. The other son said, “yes Sir,” but he didn’t go (Matthew 21:28-30.) The Pharisees clearly understood that it was the first son who did his father’s will. The younger son wanted to look good, but he didn’t take his own words seriously.
During the time of Joseph’s imprisonment (Genesis 40,) he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker. The baker met a miserable end as Joseph predicted, but the butler was restored to his former position. As the butler walked happily out of the prison door, Joseph’s last words to him were: “And please remember me and do me a favour when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh so he might let me out of this place. I’m here in prison but did nothing to deserve it” (Genesis 40: 14, 15).
Herod the tetrarch who ruled Judea at the time of Jesus’ ministry probably made one of the rashest promises ever recorded. On his birthday he promised a young dancer whatever she wanted, so taken was he with her performance. Her gory request had him wishing he had never spoken. Prompted by her mother she asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Herod felt obliged to honour her request. After all his dinner guests heard him utter those fateful words.
And then there was Peter, who promised he would never fall away from following Jesus even if everyone else did. Jesus repeated that “this very night before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” Almost as if he didn’t hear Jesus, Peter said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (Matthew 26:31, 34, 35).
Let your yes be yes!
1, Ask for a reminder, e.g. “I will gladly pick you up on Sunday, but please remind me on Saturday.”
2. Write it down somewhere where you regularly check your to do list.
3. Don’t take on more than you think you can handle.
Fortunately Jesus has already forgiven all our verbal blunders – past present and future. But if we take our own words seriously it will go a long way to others’ lives easier.
Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik