16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. Matthew 23:16-22
Jesus called out the religious leaders because they weren’t consistent with their oaths. They made up rules and had their own set of standards. Those standards had nothing o do with the law.
But the issue, much like he talked about in the Sermon on the Mount, was keeping promises that you make.
It seems trivial, doesn’t it? But we are to have integrity, and integrity comes partly by doing what we say we’ll do. It’s not any more complicated than that.
We used to be able to shake hands in business and form a partnership or a deal. Now, lawyers get involved and a stack of paperwork is signed to protect all interests. The verbiage in some of those 30+ page contracts is enough to confuse even the best of lay people. Every angle is covered.
One of the lessons in today’s post is “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” If you do make one, keep it.
We know that inherently, but it’s nice to be reminded of it from time to time.