“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
Jesus commanded that our “Yes” be “Yes,” but more and more frequently, a Christian’s “Yes” really means “No.” Every time we fail to follow-through on a commitment, show up late, don’t complete a project on time, or fail to keep our voicemail’s promise that we will “return your call as soon as possible,” we are disobeying Jesus’ command that our “Yes” be “Yes.” In our fast-paced lives, we are saying “Yes” more than ever, while more and more frequently failing to keep our word. The fact that this sin seems so innocuous should set off alarms within the Church. We are images of God, representations of Jesus Christ to a lost world. To reflect our Savior well, we must be keepers of our word.
But how practically do we do this? It starts by having a system to effectively collect all of our commitments. This could be as simple as a piece of paper or as complex as a digital task-management system like OmniFocus (my personal favorite). The tool is far less important than the process. If we are to follow Jesus’ command that our “Yes” be “Yes,” we must have a way to keep track of everything we are saying “Yes” to. Sounds like common sense, right? It is! But sadly, so few people do this well. The good news is, this is a super simple problem to solve.
Sometime this week, take 30 minutes to do a “mind-dump” of every commitment you have made to yourself, your friends, your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, etc. Once your list is complete, look for commitments that you need to renegotiate or quickly close the loop on. For example, maybe you promised your grandmother that you would call her last week and you still haven’t made the call. Take 5 minutes to give granny a call and fulfill this commitment. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” even if you’re delayed. I promise, once you go through this exercise and you’re confident that everything is out of your head, you will feel immense relief and peace.
David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, is the best resource I have found to help you keep track of all your commitments. Click here to download a brief synopsis of the book and more tips on how to ensure that your “Yes” always means “Yes.”