A promise is a simple thing and can be a life-changing resource. But a promise is also a challenging thing. Why? Because you and I are programmed not to believe! How did that happen? Why is it important? How does a promise renew your life, the lives of those around you, and your mission?
I have a birthday this week. This will telegraph my age: I remember Dionne Warwick singing a Burt Bacharach song, Promises, Promises. [The young may need to Google these names!] The lyrics point to the challenge we face with the average promise:
Oh, promises, their kind of promises, Can just destroy a life. Oh, promises, those kind of promises, Take all the joy from life. Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises, Can lead to joy and hope and love, yes, love.
Even a lyricist knows a promise can be a good thing or a bad thing. That’s a problem in need of a solution. And solutions require understanding/defining the problem.
The Promise Challenge
Our earliest memories make us skeptical when it comes to promises. Our friends made a promise and it wasn’t kept. We made a promise and couldn’t keep it. The best of parents made promises. Some of them started out like this:
If you don’t ______________, then I’m going to _______________.
You didn’t, then they didn’t: Promise not kept. In many subtle ways the world is screaming at us not to believe the promises we hear. And then there are the very overt messages. Look at these quotes:
If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing. – Edmund Burke
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers. – Nikita Khrushchev
In order for you and me to tap the amazing power of promise, we have to get past all that kind of baggage. It’s not easy. As I said, we are programmed not to believe and we don’t even know it.
This thought process is not complete. We will continue tomorrow. But let me leave you with this. One of the most surprising tools in this ministry has been promises. Well-meaning people engage in a mission project. Their hearts are captured by the places they see and the people they meet. That’s all good. Then they promise to come back. They don’t. That makes the job of the next team just a little harder. I’ve learned this from the people we meet on the mission field.
In this context, Mission: Hope volunteers are teams of promise keepers. We have room for more folks to join us on these projects. This year, we have kept promises to many people, including:
- Orphans and widows
- Pastors who graduated
- Churches in need of construction
- And we have promises to keep for the remainder of this year
Please pray. And please check in for the next installment as we continue with: Promise – An Amazing Resource.
Soli Deo Gloria!
(Updated from original publishing in January, 2015)