MY WORD IS MY BOND
26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
your very bed will be snatched from under you. Proverbs 22:26-27
As we continue to step through the word of wisdom taught by Solomon, we are challenged each day to really live a life that is above reproach. Each day, Solomon has been calling us to live a life that is an example and not to surround ourselves with the things that will cause us to struggle and fall. I know that really seems impossible, but as we continue to walk together through these lessons, I hope and pray that we become wise. Just as we said on day one, it is not enough just to have knowledge, but we must be willing to move to a life filled with wisdom by applying that knowledge to grow and possibly change the world for the better. Each time I read one of these lessons, I continue to hear the words of my father as he says, don't say something that you are not willing to fulfill. In other words, understand how to live a life of integrity and your word becomes a point of measure of what type of person that you are. Some people live a life that they are willing to tell you whatever you want to hear without any intention of following through. Their words are empty and their bond is superficial. For others, their word becomes a contract of character that will grow trust and connection between those who have the honor of experiencing truth in all of its fullness.
I know that we all have fallen into the habit of saying things that we never intended to do because we have good intentions. I have read the quote, "the road to hell is filled with good intentions." The reality is that we are continuously breaking trust and bonds because of our inability to follow through with our word. Once again my dad pressed into to me that you do what you say you are going to do. In many cultures, words are powerful and create the foundation of the character of the family. In the early days of our American culture, lives
depended on people following through with their actions or the cost could be detrimental to all involved. As we live into this lesson today, I am asking all of us to think through what type or people are we? Are we willing to live a life of integrity and use our words to connect and build a foundation of trust, or do we fear the world in such a way that our words get us into so much collateral debt and we lose any, if not all, honor and integrity to those we let down? It is a true question of our spiritual foundations and our willingness to speak with truth and follow through with integrity.
Let's look again at the words that Solomon has used for today, "Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you." We can approach these words in a literal way and a figurative way. Solomon was always wanting to cause people to think outside the box by using very common examples in life. In a literal understanding of the lesson for today, we are being warned not to step into a life filled with debt. So many people in this world struggle with debt, especially those who are exiting from college with college loans that cause them to sometimes spiral out of control and question how they are ever going to make it in this world. For others, they try to keep up with the Joneses and live way outside their means and fall into the slavery of debt from creditors or other means that causes even some families to fall apart because of the stress these debts can cause. Just an aside, I don't know who these proverbial Joneses are, but I have found out that regardless of your status there is ALWAYS another JONES that is better off in our minds. I know I digressed, so I just want all of us to see that we need to be careful of the literal financial burdens that we may incur in this life trying to live outside the means and boundaries God has provided for us in every stage of life.
In the figurative understanding of todays lesson, Solomon is speaking to our personal integrity that is under investigation. As mentioned earlier, we are being warned to not make a promise to do something that we are not going to fulfill. There may be a time or two that you are able to get away with not fulfilling your word, but in the end, as Solomon says, your very BED will be snatched from under you. In other words, everything that is foundational and allows you to find peace, rest and security will be snatched from you and you will find yourself in a place of loneliness and uncertainty. You will look around and realize that all of those promises you have made, will be called to be fulfilled and you will find yourself lost and alone because of the inability to pay the debt in full. Jesus was able to come into this world and give us an example of one who made a promise and delivered. He lived a life as an example of integrity and follow through. Jesus used his life and his words wisely and
because of that example, we are also called to live a life above approach filled with honor and integrity. I am not calling to live in a prideful way, but in humility, striving to live a life that fulfills the words that we speak. As a pastor, I try to live a life that is real and not one that is fake. I have days that are filled with joy and with hurt. I speak about my life in a way that hopefully connects to others because I want them to know that I am not perfect but I am striving to live in Christ to perfection. I pray that my words are used to build up others and to be an example of integrity. Now will I mess up... YES. Will I do everything that I can to fulfill my promises and build relationships and trust with others... YES. One of the examples I continue to think about is the day that my life is finally over, I pray that people will be reminded of how I lived my life for God and did everything within may abilities to be an example of Christ and that starts by allowing my word to be my bond. I pray that as you read these words every day, you see the life I live to honor God and help others to desire to live in the same way. WORDS are powerful and I hope and pray that we take this lesson today and follow Solomon's example to grow in our integrity with God.