Keeping Your Word

A Journal of Joy: Things that make my heart smile…..

Keeping your word is almost unheard of among politicians. It’s becoming a lost art form among regular folks as well. The tragedy in not keeping your word results in what Cicero told us, “A liar is not believed even though he tells the truth.” That’s why it’s a real breath of fresh air when you find someone who actually keeps his word.

We learned this many years ago while living in Appalachia. As a young family, we wanted to purchase a little property to build a house. We had our eye on some acreage owned by a man I will call Farmer Brown. We met Farmer Brown on his land. He looked around, pointed to the trees and foliage, then said he had a special affection for this particular parcel because he wanted to give it to his son to build on, but his son had other plans. “Uh-oh,” we thought. “Is he good or what?” We were city people and could feel the price rising even as we spoke.

Then he quoted us an extremely low amount. He said he liked us because we reminded him of his children. We quickly agreed and said we would have a contract drawn up immediately. He stopped talking and just stared at us for a few seconds. To use the vernacular of the area we were in, he got plum insulted. He said if we needed a contract the deal was off. His handshake should be a good enough bond for us. We trusted him and shook on it. He was refreshing, honest, and true to his word.

The world is used to men twisting words to manipulate people, but the old saying still rings true, “A man is as good as his word.” The Bible speaks of a good name being better than precious ointment (Ecclesiastes 7:1). It also says that putting confidence in those who are not true to their word can be painful (Proverbs 25:19).

James 5:12 says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no,” which is just a fancy way of saying, “Keep your word.” That’s what I think about when I remember Farmer Brown.   


Dear Father, I want to be a person who can be counted on to do what I say even in the small things. Give me wisdom in what I agree to do. If I agree to do something and can’t make it, then help me be courteous enough to contact those who are counting on me and not leave them hanging. This world is full of broken promises. You do not break Your promises to me, and I shouldn’t break mine to others. 

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