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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 8 : Keep Your Word | Day 56

Choose a Good Name!

God calls believers to live by a higher standard than the standard endorsed by the world. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of keeping our word. Those who reject the Gospel look for reasons to justify their reactions, and they will certainly find reasons to justify their thoughts and actions in anyone who does not follow the teachings of Christ.

The tragedy is that the marvelous message of eternal life may be rejected because of unfulfilled promises made by those who profess to follow Christ. By failing to keep his word, a believer damages not only his name but also the name of Christ, which makes the wisdom of Solomon's words even more important:

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

When the world sees believers who actually fulfill their promises, especially when it requires sacrifice to do so, the world lifts them up as role models to be followed. Such is the case with the Melon family, owners of Correct Craft, Inc., a boat manufacturer located in Florida. Their story has been documented in college textbooks to teach ethics.

During the Korean Conflict, Correct Craft, Inc. was awarded a government contract to build 3,000 boats, and they geared up to fill the order. However, an unscrupulous inspector demanded a bribe before he would approve the boats. The owners, who were Christians, could not in good conscience do this, so more than 600 boats were rejected, and the company was forced into bankruptcy.

Because they were men of their word, the Melon family did not view bankruptcy as a release from their obligations. They started the slow process of rebuilding the company and paying back the debts they owed. It took 20 years of great personal sacrifice, but because of their commitment to stand behind their word, they were able to repay each of their creditors in full. God has blessed this company with a worldwide reputation as the leader in the ski boat industry and an inspiring example of integrity.

The promises that require the most unexpected sacrifice to keep will often result in the most eternal gain.

After meditating on the command to keep our word, it will be important now for us to write down any unfulfilled promises of which we have been reminded. Let's write down the steps that are needed to fulfill them and record the responses that result. Choosing to keep a good name by being a man of your word will be not only a powerful testimony but also a lasting heritage that you can give to your children. It will provide them with the most practical and powerful instruction on how they too can obey this important command. May God bless us with wisdom and understanding to always be men of our word.

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard