There’s an amusing exchange between father and son in the 2006 movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, in which Will Smith and his son Jayden play the role of Chris Gardner and his son Christopher.  Chris told Christopher that he possibly would take him to a football game.  A typical five year old boy, Christopher thought he would be going to the game.  His dad clarified they possibly  would go to the game, not probably.  He explained the difference:  “Probably means there's a good chance.  Possibly means we might or we might not.”  Christopher responded with lively wit:  “I know what it means!  It means we’re not going to the game.”

Children often must endure the many “maybe” promises of well-intended parents.  Fortunately it worked out so Chris could take his son to the game.  A promise is not a possibly, and is stronger than a probably.  Promises are special to children.  Children beg until their parent’s “No” changes to “Yes!”  Adults love “Yes” too.  What happens when you first hear “Yes” and then it changes to “Maybe” or “No.”  Wishy-washy statements and broken promises make the heart sick and lower morale.  Christians should especially be sensitive to this.  God faithfully declared his “Yes” to all his promises to bless all the earth.  The story of Jesus is God’s resounding “Yes”.  Experiencing God’s faithfulness inspires us to keep the promises we make to others.

Why do we make promises?  We have good intentions to do good for others.  Midway through college I decided to change my major and to change schools from an inexpensive state university to an expensive private college.  Knowing my income was working middle class, I became discouraged by the cost.  My dad promised me that they would find a way.  He trusted God would provide, but he knew his promise meant he would make personal sacrifices.  He made the promise because he wanted to invest in my good and my future.  He also knew it was important because my education in the Bible and ministry had the potential to bless so many others.  Now my dad had been collecting pocket knives for many years.  His collection was valuable.  During my time at David Lipscomb College he gave me his knife collection.  He told me how much each knife was worth; and encouraged me to sell the knives for college money.  Those pocket knives sold like hotcakes.  My dad was pleased:  “I thought so!”  My dad’s sacrifice to keep his promise bought more joy to him – me too – than if he had held on to his collection.

Copyright © March 22, 2011 by D. Bryan Buttram.

To read the Bible about God’s promise and our promises, pass your pointer over these verses of scripture: Genesis 12:1-3, Acts 2:36-39, Galatians 3:28-29 and 2 Corinthians 1:16-24.  If you need but cannot afford a Bible, please contact us so we may give you a Bible.


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