A few weeks ago, I felt compelled to meet with a brother from our congregation. I didn’t want to scold him, nor rebuke him, I simply wanted to talk to him about standing me up several times.
He is one of those guys who’s very quick to volunteer for a project. You know, guys with very good intentions, willing to help, but really do not realize that they are over committing.
I didn’t want to break out in a brand new teaching series on how to make and keep your vows; neither did I want to discourage his enthusiasm. But I had to tell him that he didn’t have to approach me every week to commit to something and not actually do the thing.
I wanted him to actually think and plan about how he wanted to serve, than pursue it passionately. However, I did share the following scripture and thought with him:
the faithful followers of the Lord,
keep their promises even when it hurts. Psalm 154 NLT
What I do not mean by keeping your vows even when it hurts:
The Pharisees had four types of non-binding vows.
- The Vow of Incitement. This is a vow motivated by the actions of others.
- The Vow of Exaggeration. These were unrealistic and excessive vows.
- The Vow of Error. This vow is one made by mistake.
- The Vow of Constraint. This vow is one made to robbers, murderers or tax collectors.
In these sets of circumstances I think a vow is non-binding – even today.
The kind of vows I think we should keep even if it hurts are those vows made in the following context:
- You promised to financially or prayerfully support a missionary, give to a project at your church, volunteer your time to serving the poor in your community.
- You promised your friend that you will keep their secret and never tell anyone no matter what.
- You told your wife/husband that your will forsake all others and cling unto him/her alone. That you will love and cherish him/her in sickness and in health; for better for worse; for richer for poor – till death do you part
- You told the Lord that you will follow him, surrender to him, do whatever he wants, go where ever he sends
- You told your children that you would spend a bit more time with them. You told them you will play with them, you will simply hang out doing things they like to do.
- You should call the girl/guy if you told her/him you would call her/him. You are not only single but you are a christian man/woman who is single. Be a man/woman of your word.
- You should pay your debt. Even if it hurts.
- You should pay your tithes even if it hurts.
- You should pay your child support even it hurts.
- If you’ve made a vow to turn off all your gadgets… smart phones, laptops, iPad and spend time with the Lord, family, friends and loved ones. Turn it off even if it hurts. It is ridiculous to sit at the same dinning table and be texting each other.
This is important because the Lord knows a thing or two about making and keeping vows. As children of God, we need to represent Him by showing a good reputation. Needless to say, God honors those who keep their promises or vows. It is a great test of our personal integrity, something that gives others the confidence to trust us because we are people of our word.
Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21; Genesis 9:8-17; 22:16-19; 2 Samuel 7:12-17; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; Psalm 15:4; Matthew 5:33-37; 10:38-39; Hebrews 6:13
Be blessed! I look forward to hearing from you.