“Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.” James 5:12 (NIV)
One of the tragedies of our time is a lack of commitment. People are full of talk but fail to follow through in their walk. A man and woman stand before a congregation and say, “I do,” and three years later they’re in the divorce court saying, “I don’t.” A general contractor brings in a sub contractor and half way through the job the sub contractor quits. A father tells his son he’ll definitely be there to watch him play in the Wednesday night ball game but gets tied up at work and breaks his promise.
I remember the time a man said to me, “Lawson, I know your work as a pastor is tough, but you can count on me – I’ll be there for you whenever you need me.” Eighteen months later I was struggling with several heavy duty issues and was relying on the man’s support. It never came. A month later the man left the church.
Then there was the young man who poured out his devotion in a letter to the girl of his dreams. He wrote, “Darling, I will climb the highest mountain, cross the hottest desert, swim the widest river, and even die at the stake for you. P. S. I’ll see you on Saturday, if it doesn’t rain.”
What about you? Are you a man or woman known for your commitment? Do you follow through on your promises? Society needs people whose word will be their bond. “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No’, no” James 5:12. In essence – be there. Be is face. There is place. To be there is to make sure your face is in the right place. It’s having character and context in continuity. It’s doing what you said you would do in the place you said you’d do it, no matter what.
The trouble is, few of us have the inner strength or resolve to be fully committed even when we have the best of intentions. So what needs to be done? The answer is found in turning to Jesus Christ. He is the epitome of commitment. He isn’t a distant god who created everything then left it all to fend for itself. The incarnation is the centrepiece of commitment. Jesus Christ knew what it was to be there. Thus in turning to Jesus Christ we discover the resources we need in order to be there for others. As Paul says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13.