Proverbs 10, 6-9
Something to read
Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot. The wise of heart will heed commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever follows perverse ways will be found out.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Today is the first day after April Fool's Day. It is a second day of a month. Second days are often forgotten – major holidays rarely happen on the second day of the month. Who makes New Years' Resolutions on the second of January? A fool, perhaps?
Yet it is on the second day when we begin to test our mettle. The integrity of our commitment is not measured on the day we make that commitment, but in the days following. That first day of testing, then, is the second day.
We can proclaim whatever we wish on a street corner or to our neighbour. We can write anything: a threat, a promise, a pledge. But the threat is empty if not carried out. The promise is meaningless if not fulfilled.
The pledge, rooted as it may be in the richness of history, is tarnished if not followed with integrity. As Christians, our commitment to Christ is evidenced by the integrity of our actions. We are remembered not for what we do on the first day of the week – Sunday, when we make our vows and pledges – but for what we do on Monday, Tuesday, and on through to Saturday.
When we do not follow through with integrity on our commitments, we are soon 'unmasked'. Our true desires are made known, maybe not to everyone (there is always someone we can fool!), but most importantly to ourselves.
Something to do
Reflect upon the commitments or promises you have made in the past. Prayerfully consider if they are still part of your calling as one of God's priesthood of all believers. If so, use today as an opportunity to re-commit yourself to them. But don't declare this: just go forth, and do it.
Something to pray
God, I see your path in front of me,
but you know that I do not always follow it.
I take a selfish path at times;
indeed, I justify the deviations, even to you.
In doing such I sacrifice my integrity
on the altar of selfishness.
But no matter how far I have gone,
no matter how much I have forgotten,
you continue to show me your paths;
you never forget me; you shower me with blessings.
Give me the integrity to keep to your path,
to progress upon it as your faithful disciple,
and the courage to keep my promises to your people.
Ryan Sirmons is a pastor of The United Church of Christ Annapolis who trained at Westminster College, Cambridge.