Matt 21:28-31 - "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ' Son, go work today in the vineyard.' "And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he regretted it and went. "The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, sir'; but he did not go. "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. NASU
My father use to say, "This world can take everything from you accept your word. You give your word you keep it." You make a promise you keep it that my friend is integrity. You keep your word when you would rather do anything else.
My father's generation was known for sealing a deal with a handshake. In 1984 I got to participate in a land deal that was secured with a handshake with an old farmer, named Rufus Griffith.
He agreed to sell the Lord's church 24 acres of property for $10K / acre. When he went to his lawyer's office to tell him to draw up a contract for the sale of his property, the attorney told him he could get him $15K / acre.
Rufus told his attorney, "I shook the boy's hand." The attorney told him a handshake is not a binding contract in MD. Rufus said, "It is with me."
There is a picture perfect example of integrity. There is honoring your word. Rufus could have made $120K more by listening to his attorney. But instead he listened to his dad who taught him "you give your word you keep it".
If you want to be a disciple of Jesus then you are going to have opportunities where you can display integrity and honor your word or renege on your pledge.
As my children grew they had one rule when it came to participating in sporting activities and that was if you sign up you can't quit.
You gave them your word and you had to honor it. You didn't have to join next year but you had to complete the year you signed to play.
In our scripture text, a father had two sons one gave his word he would go work in the vineyard but never went. Some thing must have come up that was a lot more exciting than working in a vineyard or honoring his word.
His other son said he didn't want to go work in the vineyard but then he had a change of heart and he went and worked in the vineyard.
What changed his mind?
Jesus doesn't say so anything we say would be pure speculation. Maybe he saw his dad in the vineyard working by himself and the sight of his dad working alone convicted him. Or maybe a pretty Jewish girl was working to help provide for her family and he noticed her.
Anyways, when Jesus asked who did the father's will they all gave the correct answer the one who changed his heart and mind and went to work.
So if you want to be like Jesus and you give your word to do something then by all means do it.
It is never wrong to be a person of integrity.
Think About These:
Everyone makes mistakes, but only a person with integrity owns up to them.
Integrity is making sure the things you say and the things you do are in alignment.
Integrity is telling myself the truth and honesty is telling the truth to other people.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
Gary A Serago.