Taking it Seriously

by Stan Mitchell
Some time ago, I read of a dad in a grocery store, who was overheard to mutter, “If that boy loses his homework one more time, I’ll kill him.” Someone took his statement seriously (not to mention in a crassly literal manner), and he was taken to court for intent to murder.
People these days, as shallow as a birdbath, don’t seem to understand the nature of figurative language. But there are some places where we should take our statements very seriously indeed.
“It is a snare to say rashly, ‘It is holy,’ and to reflect only after making vows,” (Proverbs 20:25, ESV).
What the Wise Man is referring to here is the all too human tendency, when in dire straits and desperation to offer something — anything — in order to be delivered from some sticky situation. We are reminded to take these vows seriously, not rashly.
Every Sunday Christians make promises, rather lightly I am afraid, when they sing songs about commitment to God and the need to change their lives. When you sing “O how I love Jesus,” you dare not sing these words meaninglessly. When you sing “King of my life, I crown thee now,” you cannot sing that without intending to carry out its terms!
A promise to God is the most serious undertaking a person will take in his life. Yet, so often we take these commitments flippantly, offhandedly. God is not our good buddy; he is the Lord of all creation. When you promise him your life, mean it!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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