I like to play softball and still enjoy playing although I have reached the phase “retirement”. Only because my body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to, what use to last 24 hours not aches for days! Haha!
Not so long ago, when I played, when a fly ball was hit, if you could catch it, you would let the other fielders know you had it. A fielder would yell: “I got it!” or “Mine!” We have some young people on our team and when a fly ball is hit to them now, they yell, “I will!” It sounds funny to me, but same principle, letting someone know you are going to catch the ball so back off. Well, sometimes in your best efforts and yelling, “Mine!”, “Got it!”, or “I will!” We still miss it! The reaction of the fans is a mixture of: shaking of heads, thinking I could have done it, or some just laugh and poke fun. The person you told to back off; may now be upset you dropped the ball or encourage you to shake it off.
I have been pondering this scenario often lately. How many times do I say I will and never get around to it? You have the best intentions but never quite make it. Or on the flip side, someone tells you, “oh, I will do it for you”, and they drop the ball. I was thinking of times when I say, “I will do _____ and never have any intentions of doing it.” It has actually happened on the ball field, some of these guys hit rockets and I know I’m not going to go after it but my pride won’t allow me to back off. So I go through the motions or freeze with fear. (No one mention this to my team) Or in a real life scenario, I said I would do the dishes yesterday but ask Todd about the dishes that were not done?!(Side note: I hate dishes, if I didn’t feel so bad about it we would use paper products forever)
These are comical examples; sadly, we make too many broken promises that affect and destroy people, churches, and work environments. What happens is when we say we will do it and don’t, we now have put someone else in the position to sin.
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13
When we drop the ball with good or bad intentions, the one depending on us is now left with an array of emotions. This has also left many people with the mentality; I will just do it because no one else will. This is prevalent in church as well. There are people serving out of that mentality and not in their gifts or out of love. “I will” is a word used so frequently and loosely. Of course, I looked up the meaning of will which means: to purpose, determine on, or elect by an act of will. I will is to have intentions of doing… and sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. One can either be on the end of someone saying I will or you may be the one saying I will.
Matthew 5:38 proclaims:
Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
Matthew is saying look just say yes or no, without explanation or guilt. But if you say yes, then make sure you have weighed the cost and follow through. Just as its OK to say yes; it’s OK to say no. If I can’t catch the ball then I need to throw pride off and allow someone who can catch it, do so. This benefits the team, not just me. As in church, if I step aside and allow someone else to walk in their calling and passions, I am relieved of doing outside God’s will. There is so much freedom in letting go and joy that comes from watching God work in someone else’s life and ministry. We are too prideful to say, I can’t or it’s just too much right now. There are times when life happens and you can’t fulfill an obligation, God works in those times too. We are not to condemn one another. Allow someone to walk away, God’s ministry will not fail and His kingdom will not cease. I also can’t allow my feelings to get in the way if I am removed from a position because I haven’t been what I needed to be. Sometimes God has to remove us because in our pride we are blinded.
In Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, it says
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth leads you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
It is better not to make a promise than to make one and not keep it. This is tough. A dear friend reminds me often, that when I say yes to something, I am always saying no to something else. I want to be a person true to my word. I am completely saddened by the lack of integrity my words carry. I am thankful that I serve a God of new beginnings whose mercy and grace are new every morning.
So I will hold on to the only One who says, “I will” and never breaks His promise. I never have to worry about whether or not it will get done. Even when I can’t, God can.
In Zephaniah 3, God declares a few “I will”; that lately I have been clinging to…
I will take great delight in you.
I will quiet you with my love.
I will rejoice over you with singing.
I will remove sorrows from you.
I will deal with all who oppress you.
I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered.
I will give them praise and honor.
I will gather you.
I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise.
I will restore your fortunes.
Says the Lord.
How awesome that God will even when I won’t!