This weekend I am enjoying the privilege of being on a board retreat. Having an opportunity to meet and spend time with people who have a similar focus and direction, as well as the desire to see an organization prosper and grow is very fulfilling. However, it is also a time that invokes memories of previous board retreats, countless board meetings and all of the ideas, talk and good intentions that generally accompany a gathering like this. There is always optimism that the next thing we do will push us over the top or help position our group in an “enviable” position. However, after so many of those sessions I realize this is rarely the case.
If you have never attended a meeting like this, let me familiarize you with the process. People who have a level of experience, means and passion for the organization get together to review recent history, evaluate the present position, interject new (possibly innovative or security based initiatives) and then forecast the future. While all of this is good and very meaningful there must be substance to the conversation, based on accurate analysis of data and a clear track outlined for the future that is within the scope of reason and resources. Otherwise it is all talk. It does not matter how good the intention of the conversation if there is no way or support for the proposed direction. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the best of intentions turn into nothing because no one would take responsibility and execute. Many people fancy themselves as the “idea person” but few really want to grab the bull by the horns and execute the plan.
Some of you may want, at some time, to hold a board position. While yes, it seems prestigious to do so, be prepared for a lot of conversation with some action, but probably not as much as is really needed. I bring this up because you will find the same thing true in many aspects of your life. You and many others will have good intentions and say you want to do something – AND YOU REALLY DO WANT TO DO IT! However, time comes and goes and soon the passion for the project seems to fade and its value diminishes.
Matthew 5:36 – 37 was written to help us address these types of issues. These verses are a call to action, not just another “commandment.” If you say yes, then take the initiative to do what you say you will do. If you say no, have a reason or purpose for not doing it – even if the purpose is you don’t want to or you know it is not something you will do well. Don’t say something to appease someone and then not follow through – regardless of the reason. Matthew 21:28 – 32 provides an example of this and illustrates the view of God concerning these types of “promises.”
It takes honesty and initiative to address projects and promises. You have often heard me use the word “initiative” in hopes that you would begin to think beyond ideas and concepts and move yourself to action – especially if you see value in the idea or plan. Initiative is what differentiates people who succeed from those who do not. I am not talking purely about worldly success – I am talking about a person’s capacity to prosper before God and man. When you allow your “yes” to be “yes” and your “no” to be “no,” you are being honest and not a liar, as harsh as that may sound. Read 1 Timothy 1:8 – 10 and you will see that people who do not keep their word are among those condemned.
Keep your word. Use initiative. Be a part of the solution and make things happen. Good intentions are great, but follow through if it is important to you. Fulfilling promises is a sign of respect and obedience.