Pay What You Vow

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“And he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.” Matthew 21:29


By the time Hannah was 18-months-old, she was “drawing”. She especially loved watching the spill of color flow from her crayons. At two and a half, my future graphic designer was putting circles and lines together to create pictures of everything she saw.


Wanting to show my mother our budding artist, I asked Hannah to recreate her drawing of the previous day. “Draw MeMaw a cow,” I requested.


Too busy with her dolls, Hannah was not in the mood to perform. Despite the pen and paper I placed before her, she ignored me and continued feeding her baby.


I coerced and pled. She cooed and played. I resorted to bribery. She retorted by bristling. “Would you do it for a popsicle?” I begged.


My little peacemaker sighed loudly and quickly scooped the pen into her clenched fist. With a sign of disgust, she sliced one quick mark across the page and proclaimed with finality, “Moo!”


Have you ever said one thing and delivered another? I know I have. I’m often more like the son in today’s parable than my pressured two-year-old. My husband says we have good intention toward details, but very little attention to accomplish it.


Our society over-promises and under-delivers. Our ambitions are good, but the tyranny of the urgent indefinitely postpones many of our best goals. This especially holds true in our spiritual walk.


How many times in the past two weeks have you skipped reading the Word because something more pressing needed your attention? How often have you said “I’ll pray for you” without ever getting around to doing it? How often have you promised to get with someone in need knowing you didn’t’ have the time?


The Father not only keeps His Word; His Word makes things happen. The universe jumped into being at the sound of His voice. When He said, “Let there be light,” light immediately broke through the darkness (Genesis 1:3).


So when the Lord speaks to you, He is not merely giving you a suggestion for consideration. He doesn’t do FYI’s. When He speaks, he expects FYO’s — for your obedience


His Word doesn’t escape His mouth without accomplishing His desire (Isaiah 55:11). If you believe anything about Him, believe that He is all about finishing what He has begun within you (Psalm 138:8). He encourages us not to worry (Philippians 4:6; Matthew 6:34) because He is the One responsible for completion. “God …accomplishes all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).


As your Father, He desires you to follow His lead and follow through with your promises — both to Him as well as to others. For some of us, that will mean choosing what we agree to and possibly even speaking less (Ecclesiastes 5:2; Proverbs 10:19). Better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. We already know far more than we obey. Let’s deliver what we vow (Ecclesiastes 5:4).


Holy Father,


Once more, I stand amazed at who You are. Your Word gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist (John 5:21; Romans 4:17). Thank You for speaking me out of darkness and into Your glorious light (1 Peter 2:9).


Make me a woman of my word. Put a check in my spirit before I commit to something You know I cannot accomplish. As my Holy Rememberer (John 14:26), bring to mind the things that You have taught me, so that I can follow-through in Your strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.