While growing up, "Little House on the Prairie," was one of my favorite television shows. One touching characteristic of the series was how the town’s inhabitants trusted each other. After all, it was through teamwork and trust that the town had materialized on the Midwest farmlands. Farmers normally had no funds to buy seed and other items needed to plant their fields. But not to worry. Charles Ingles—like any other farmer, could saunter into Oleson’s Mercantile and walk away with seed and any other needed items to plant his fields. Mr. Oleson simply gave farmers the materials based on their promises to pay him when the crops came in and were sold. No paperwork to sign. No binding contracts. Just a simple promise to pay, perhaps accompanied by a handshake. Good track records and reputations led to mountains of reliance.
Trust is God’s plan. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned. (James 5:12 NLT)
Doubtlessly, things will never return to the good ‘ole days, so I must learn to obey the command in the present. As God’s representative, I have the responsibility of being honest and fair in my dealings with others even if it does involve signing paperwork, leases, or binding contracts.
Lying also enters the picture. If I’m not as good as my word, people will begin to doubt everything I say. After all, they can’t distinguish between when I might and might not be telling the truth. Like the boy who continually cried wolf, I’ll find myself alone when the chips are down. Keeping my promises is critical too. No one enjoys being the recipient of broken promises. Exaggeration is dangerous as well. The simple truth is always sufficient.
In all of the above ways, I experience being true to my word. Are you?
Prayer: Savior, as Your representatives, may we always speak the truth and nothing but the truth.
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