Promises Must Be Kept

I have never missed a Sunday preaching assignment since I came to Seoul Baptist except once, three years ago after an appendectomy. Even then, I wanted to preach on Sunday after having the surgery on Thursday, but my doctor forbade it. I did preach the following Sunday, sitting on chair.

I feel strongly that people must keep their commitments and promises. I think I got this conviction from my late grandfather, who is enshrined in the Hall of Korean Martyrs for being arrested and killed for his faith by North Koreans during the Korean War. I was too young to remember him personally, but I heard many anecdotes about him. Obviously, he was a man of his word who valued faithfulness. I was told that he used to say that a pastor loses his effectiveness if he tells an untruth even once.

So I have tried to be a man of my word myself. When people ask me to do something for them, I sometimes give the impression that I am reluctant, which upsets them. But it’s not that I’m unwilling; I just want to make sure that I can keep my promise before I give my word.

My promises to God are especially important to me. That’s why I take my preaching duty so seriously. When my wife was in the hospital to receive cancer treatment, I didn’t miss preaching on Sunday even when I had to stay overnight at the hospital. It’s also why I’ve rarely missed early morning prayer at church over the last 15 years, even though I’m naturally a night person. I made a commitment to meet God in the morning and I must be faithful to it no matter what.

I try to keep my commitments, and I expect others to do the same. Some people seem to have hard time with this attitude of mine. For example, when Shepherds do not submit their weekly ministry reports for a month, I list their names in the monthly Shepherd newsletter. I know that some of them are hurt by this, and some feel humiliated. I keep doing it because Shepherds sign a pledge at the beginning of each year to submit a weekly report. If they make a pledge they must keep it. And they must submit their report at least two or three times a month.

Even if I do my best, I sometimes slacken in my commitment and fail to keep my promises. But I try to be true to my word and be a man of principle. My emphasis on principles in my ministry may have helped our church become what it is now. I firmly believe that God’s children must be faithful, just as He is faithful.

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