I’m not exactly sure how old this is; I think it goes back to 1998.
A Good Bargain
It took a long time for my schedule to open up but at last I was able to attend my first Promise Keepers stadium event (arena event, to be exact.) During the lunch break our group decided to take in the book store tent just outside of the arena. This is a risky move for some but for those of us who have successfully accumulated stuff (not necessarily good stuff but just stuff) the temptation to part with large amount of hard currency at a place like this is seriously diminished.
My wife and I have been married long enough to have mutually integrated many of our habits and one of them is her shopping technique. When she enters a store, her first activity is not to buy either a) what she needs or b) what happens to be on the list, if one exists but c) what items the store has decreased the price on, and not just, say, 10% or 25% but 75% or 90%. So when I entered and my eyes fell on the sign “Clearance” I know I had found what I was looking for.
One of the items I found was a Spanish “Promise Keepers” golf shirt, in an acceptable size and colour. The fact that it wasn’t in English was irrelevant because of a) the seriously reduced price and b) the fact that I can somewhat read Spanish. So I bought it and took it home.
I got to looking at it more carefully; PK has rendered their name in Spanish as “Cumplidores de Promesas.” The Italians say that “to translate is to betray” but in this case there was an enhancement in store. Spanish can be specific where English is vague. The title “Cumplidores de Promesas” when translated back really comes out as “Fulfillers of Promises” rather than those who just “keep” them. If you think about this long enough what this really conveys is a person who
- Makes a promise.
- Takes whatever action is necessary to fulfill it.
We are so used to saying things we don’t mean in our “big talk” culture we really don’t realize it, even when we mean to be truthful. But it really shouldn’t be that way.
A Done Deal
An example of what the Spanish name means in a secular sense comes from my brother’s last job as a car salesman in Houston, TX. He was recovering from serious cancer (it came back to take him before the year was out) and had just started the job. An Hispanic gentlemen from McAllen was in town to fulfil another one of those important promises men make, i.e., to buy a car for his daughter. My brother showed him around, they agreed on a car and the price, and then the man told my brother, “I’ve got to go to the bank and get the money. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
The rest of the rather jaded sales force told him, “Yeah, right.” They couldn’t believe it, though, when the man came back in a few minutes with the money, purchased the car and drove away. It was my brother’s first car sale and he was very proud of it. (My brother discovered that this was the usual idea with Hispanic customers, i.e., that they were very deliberate to commit, but when they committed, it was a done deal.)
God’s Promises — Man’s Commitments
In Heb 10:19-25 we read the following:
Therefore, Brothers, since we may enter the Sanctuary with confidence, in virtue of the blood of Jesus, by the way which he inaugurated for us–a new and living way, a way through the Sanctuary Curtain (that is, his human nature); and, since we have in him ‘a great priest set over the House of God,’ let us draw near to God in all sincerity of heart and in perfect faith, with our hearts purified by the sprinkled blood from all consciousness of wrong, and with our bodies washed with pure water. Let us maintain the confession of our hope unshaken, for he who has given us his promise will not fail us. Let us vie with one another in a rivalry of love and noble actions. And let us not, as some do, cease to meet together; but, on the contrary, let us encourage one another, and all the more, now that you see the Day drawing near.
We see that God is described as faithful to his promise. All of the events described in the first part of the passage, the salvation which Jesus Christ wrought for us, was predicted in the Old Testament and then provided for us by God himself in the New. He made many promises concerning the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and came through with those.
We cannot do what God has done for us. What we can do is what we are able to do. We can lift each other up and positively motivate one another rather than spending our time cutting each other down, for it makes more sense to make a good life by filling it with good activity rather than to define ourselves by what we don’t do and end up with a vacuum. Unless when are shut in somehow, we can assemble ourselves together to worship God and to strengthen each other in our fellowship. And of course, we must be fulfillers of our own promises, from the basic commitments we make in life to everyday things where “big talk” is so easy.
The day is drawing near when Jesus Christ himself will return to set things straight. This also is a promise of God. Will we have fulfilled our end of the bargain?