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Bible Order: Joshua 14–15
Chronological Order: Deuteronomy 2:1–4:14
New Testament Only: Mark 12:35–13:13

A Man Shall Not Break His Word!

Numbers 29–30

Let your light shine before men!

Let your light shine before men!

Numbers 30:2 ESV

“If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word.  He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

I remember years ago sitting with the CEO of a company I worked for.  We were moving into new offices and he had been very involved in the design and construction of this new space.  He had struggled greatly with contractors and was relating all of the broken promises he had experienced with them; things as simple as when something would be delivered or agreeing to and then missing meetings.  The list of broken promises was long and his eyes were wide with disbelief as he shared this disheartening experience.

We too were in a service business and he had long ago established a list of values that every employee was expected to memorize and on which he would occasionally through us a pop quiz.  One value was simply stated as “We do what we say.”  He had explained that beyond the obvious meaning of always telling the truth, we were to keep all of our commitments no matter what they were not only to our clients but to each other.  If we promised someone something by a certain day and time we had to deliver.  If some unexpected challenge threatened to cause a delay we had to contact the person to whom we made the commitment, explain the difficulty and seek their permission to push the committed deadline back.

As he told me about the broken promises of a multitude of vendors he turned to me and said “I am absolutely convinced that if we just follow the “We do what we say” value we will rule our industry.  He meant that customers are all hungry for vendors who will keep their promises and if and when they find one they will be loyal and recommend the trustworthy vendor to others every chance they get.

Here’s a case in point.  Back in December of 2009 my neighborhood was hit with some extremely strong winds.  My house, like many houses along my street, had large sections of shingles torn off the roof.  I called John Davet of Davet Roofing and he came out to the house when he said he would.  He got me covered as quickly as possible and gave me a rundown of how the process with the insurance companies usually worked.  In the course of our conversation I mentioned that a number of different men had come to my door offering to do repairs some of whom hinted that they might be able to get me a new roof.

John said a number of roofers will drive neighborhoods looking for opportunities to submit a claim.  If a claim is submitted and the insurance company agrees, the roofer makes some money.  If the claim is denied the roofer is out nothing but the home owner has a denied claim on their record and, evidently, those count too.  It was clear he didn’t care for the practice.  Don’t get me wrong, John never said a negative word about his competition but in a rather humble way he made it clear that he didn’t agree with the practice.

Once the insurance company determined that I needed a new roof John quickly responded to my request for a quote.  Once things were good to go he told me his guys would be at the house at 8am the following Monday and that the job would take two days.  Monday came and I noticed his guys sitting in their truck waiting to start at 7:30am.  It was a windy day with the temperature hovering around freezing.  I could have sworn I saw a few snowflakes floating past the window.  His men started on time and were clearly very good at what they did.  I’m afraid I must tell you at this point in the story that they didn’t exactly keep John’s word for him.  They actually finished by 4pm that afternoon; a full day earlier than promised.  They cleaned up every scrap of debris and left my home and yard looking like they had never been their; well, with the exception of a good looking, brand new roof.

John and his men were honest, prompt, courteous, professional, and timely; they always did what they said they would do.  Every phone call was returned within 24 hours and the price I paid was what he said it would be.  So why am I going on and on like this about John Davet and Davet Roofing?  “That’s the way it ought to be” you might say.  You would be right.  That is the way it ought to be, but unfortunately my experience is that most vendors seem unable to operate that way.

Our society has become almost indifferent to casual promises.  We’ve all come to expect our politicians to break their word almost as quickly as their word leaves their mouth.  What I don’t think we realize is that we are often are guilty of the same behavior.  I wince as I recall the many times I have told my mother I would call her over the weekend or in a couple of nights only to realize a week later that I forgot to do so.  I can try to tell myself that it wasn’t exactly a promise but that’s just the politician coming out.  I said I would do something and I didn’t.

My problem is twofold; on the one hand as I made the commitment to call, I did not register it as a commitment; on the other hand having made the commitment I did not take any proactive steps to ensure that I would keep the commitment.  In other words, I was careless with my words.  Having done his more than once I realize that when I tell my mother that I will call her within a given time frame she more than likely does not believe I will do so.  Ouch!

How about you?  Are you guilty of being careless with your words like I have been?  Do your family members, friends, or co-workers take what you have to say with “a grain of salt” as it were?  I don’t know about you but it kind of hurts a bit to think that they might have a little doubt about the veracity of the things I say.  This may seem like a small thing but it isn’t.

Here in this blog I have written a glowing review of John Davet and his company and I will highly recommend him to anyone willing to listen.  I am a proactive fan of John because he does “according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”  I have confidence in him because I have learned that I can trust what he says.  I’d like others to feel the same about me.  I bet you would too.

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is the truth and if we are in him no lack of truth can remain in us.  Let’s each make a commitment to be more careful and intentional with our words.  Let us no longer make casual commitments that dent the veracity of our words.  Here is why:

John 3:16-21

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

If people know that our words can be counted on as truth we will indeed be living a life different and set-apart from most.  Like a moth to a flame others will be attracted to the light of Christ that shines through you.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

(Originally posted 2/26/10)

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