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Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

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(Wo)Man of Your Word

Jason VanaJason Vana

Growing up in the same house as my grandparents, I learned a lot of old school manners: taking your hat off while indoors, always (and I mean always) holding the door open for a woman, saying please and thank you even for the little things, how to give a proper handshake, and making sure to take care of all the dirty work (i.e. – garbage duty) so a lady doesn’t have to get dirty.

While I appreciate all the old school manners I learned, there’s one that stands out as the most important:

Being a man (or woman) of your word.

It’s a quality that has become less and less important in our society.

Someone says they will show up, agrees to help out, promises to get something done, makes plans, tells you they will be there to help you move, or work on that homework, or will get done whatever they said they would get done, and the moment of truth comes…

And they don’t come through.

They over promised, under-planned, forgot to check their schedule or, worse yet, found something more appealing to do and just backed out.

We’ve all experienced it.
We all know how frustrating and hurtful it can be.
And, if we’re honest, at some point…we’ve all done it.

It may not seem like that big of a deal. We may not think it’s that important if we are five minutes late, or cancel plans to see a movie so we can hang out with some friends, but when that attitude becomes the norm, it communicates something about us.

Our words mean nothing.
We don’t care how it will affect others.
And, worst of all, we can’t be trusted.

The bible tells us how we should handle our words:

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” — Matthew 5:37

When we tell someone we’ll show up at a certain time, when we promise to help out, when we say we’ll finish the project, talk to that person, or lend our expertise, we need to follow through. We need to do what we say.

Even if it’s inconvenient.

It’s not easy to be a man (or woman) of your word. It’s not easy to make sure you leave 10 minutes early so you can show up on time. It’s not always easy to put everything else aside so you can finish the project when you said you would. It’s not fun to follow through with helping someone move when you have the opportunity to get away for the weekend.

But when people can trust us with the little things, when they can trust us to show up on time, or reach the deadlines we set, or come through even when we have the opportunity to do something better, they know they can trust us with more important things.

Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

Comments 37
  • Arnyslight
    Posted on

    Arnyslight Arnyslight

    Reply Author

     “They over promised, under-planned, forgot to check their schedule or, worse yet, found something more appealing to do and just backed out.”

    It’s mostly that they found something better to do…

    or of course in my weakness…”laziness”…it’s sad…but I Promise I’m working on it…

    Come to think of it…when we back out for some reason…it’s just a spiral down of lies after lies and lies… You don’t call so when the phone rings you don’t answer….the you get the text messages….and you don’t want to tell them hey…i found something better to do then your boring thing….so you lie….you’re sick…..or you got tied up….or whatever…

    So it can cause all sorts of mess and shame…


    • Brandon
      Posted on

      Brandon Brandon

      Reply Author

      Very nice post! I actually have a post similar to this coming out on my site for the new “Defining Character” series… 


      • Jason Vana
        Posted on

        Jason Vana Jason Vana

        Reply Author

         That’s awesome Brandon – I’ll have to check it out. I’m starting to lay out plans for a Character series. I thought I would start with this one, as this topic has been on my mind for a month now. Looking forward to reading yours!


        • Brandon
          Posted on

          Brandon Brandon

          Reply Author

          I look forward to yours as well! Hope to see you around on my site soon! 🙂


          • Jason Vana
            Posted on

            Jason Vana Jason Vana

            Author

             I must have had an issue with getting your site into my RSS Reader. I’ll try adding it again. 


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      It definitely can be a downward spiral pretty fast. 

      I had some friends who were HORRIBLE at showing up to anything on time. We would plan on doing something together, or even a few times I traveled with them, and you couldn’t count on them to be ready or show up on time. It was horrible.


  • ThatGuyKC
    Posted on

    ThatGuyKC ThatGuyKC

    Reply Author

    Jason, I’ve had this comment box open for awhile, but I’m just speechless. This is solid stuff and I really hope you start writing a book soon (if you haven’t already begun).
    Thank you for the reminder that “old school” manners are really solid values. I grew up trained to be a gentleman as well, have a firm handshake and hold the door. You’re a good man.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       The funny thing is, I really didn’t like this post when I finished it. I hadn’t slept well the two nights before, I struggled to write it and finally just gave up on trying to “fix” it and figured – hey, we all have dud posts and this can be mine this week. I’m always amazed at how God takes the posts I think are crap and turns them into some of my best ones. Keeps me humble  =)


      • ThatGuyKC
        Posted on

        ThatGuyKC ThatGuyKC

        Reply Author

        Haha. Amen to that. Glad you stopped tinkering with it and just hit
        “publish”.


  • Adam
    Posted on

    Adam Adam

    Reply Author

    My parents taught us  these types of manners growing up, and it is something that I still feel very strongly about today. It is my goal to pass on these manners and morals to my son.
    My parents also taught me the importance of a hard days work…


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       Growing up in the same house with my grandpa, my brother and I definitely learned how to work hard. Even when we went on vacation to our family’s property in Wisconsin, there was work to be done – trees to trim, gravel to smooth, new pump to install. It’s not like it was all work, but we learned that if something needed to be done, you just had to do it.


  • Dustin
    Posted on

    Dustin Dustin

    Reply Author

     Matt 5:37 was a big verse in our house growing up. Made me realize the importance of truthfulness and honesty.

    Interestingly enough, my wife and I are watching the LOST seasons right now (we’re on season 5) and a big thing about it is, “I give you my word.” Not sure how that relates… but I found it interesting and timely. 🙂


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       I love LOST! I started watching it in season 6 and went back through and watched all the episodes after it was done on TV. 

      What’s interesting to me is that, years ago, your word was as solid as a contract. If you said you would do something, it was a legal agreement and no one would question it or want something in writing “just in case.” Now…yea, that’s not really the case. Just shows how much our words have been devalued.


  • Jason Wert
    Posted on

    Jason Wert Jason Wert

    Reply Author

     I’ve always believed if people can’t believe your word then you’re not worth giving that word. 


  • Joseph
    Posted on

    Joseph Joseph

    Reply Author

     Matthew 5;37 is not a verse I hear a lot of honestly. Maybe because it can hit us so hard. These are great thoughts that we can all learn from. Keeping your word says a lot about who you are as a person. Awesome post Jason!


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       “Keeping your word says a lot about who you are as a person.”

      This actually is one of the ways I form opinions about others. If you can’t keep your word, I can tell you aren’t a trustworthy person, and I approach the relationship that way. 


  • Matthewfsnider
    Posted on

    Matthewfsnider Matthewfsnider

    Reply Author

     Thanks for sharing Jason, this really is something I need to hear daily!


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      Thanks for stopping by and reading it Matt! It’s definitely something I need to hear daily as well – kind of why I wrote it! lol


  • Kristinherdy
    Posted on

    Kristinherdy Kristinherdy

    Reply Author

    I have, at times, not kept my word. Those times make me cringe to remember them. My only recourse is to apologize for those times and do better the next time. 


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       Acknowledging and apologizing for not keeping our word is a great thing to do – it helps break that image that we aren’t trustworthy and that we never keep our word. Great point Kristin!


  • Shelley
    Posted on

    Shelley Shelley

    Reply Author

    Great post, and a great reminder. I’m working at leaving earlier. I’m terrible for planning how long it will take me to get ready, leave, travel, and get to my destination. I mean, for work, I’m always on time or early…but when going to Sunday school or meeting up with friends, I somehow manage to end up running late. I know I have to leave by a certain time to get to my destination, and yet somehow when I’m getting ready, I end up on slow motion or something.

    I have to meet up with a friend shortly – am driving his son to cadets, and then he (my friend) and I are heading out for supper. I have to leave my house in at least 7 minutes to get there on time…so I should log off now and get changed so I’m not late!  


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       I hope you got there in time Shelley! 


  • Moe
    Posted on

    Moe Moe

    Reply Author

     Yikes! I’ve been guilty of over-promising and under-delivering. I think if we value our friendships we should strive to make people important. If we are running late or  can’t make the commitment at least apologize and send flowers… or meatballs. Everybody loves meatballs!  🙂


    • Kristinherdy
      Posted on

      Kristinherdy Kristinherdy

      Reply Author

      just don’t let a vegetarian down!


      • Jason Vana
        Posted on

        Jason Vana Jason Vana

        Reply Author

        That’s when you send those nasty veggie patties that supposedly taste like real hamburgers. *puke*


        • Jonathan B
          Posted on

          Jonathan B Jonathan B

          Reply Author

          They make veggie meatballs too. I’ve seen them. I think I even had some once. I don’t recall enjoying them.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       It’s amazing how powerful a humble apology can be. And meatballs.


  • mohan37
    Posted on

    mohan37 mohan37

    Reply Author

    it’s so easy to do this, and then turn around and get upset at someone else for doing.  we really have become flippant with our word, and it’s sad. 

    Just tonight I received several messages from people bailing on an event tonight.

    yeah, that’s all I got.  it’s a bummer.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       I think because this is such an important thing to me, that I get easily frustrated with people who don’t stick to their word, or don’t even show some remorse for not being able to follow through.

      I actually got into a pretty heated argument with a friend of mine once who promised to be there to help me move into my first (and only) house – even went as far to say that he wouldn’t miss it for anything – then called me a few days before and said he couldn’t be there because he was going on vacation. Made me sound like a dick when I was trying to call him out on not sticking to his word, cause he was going with his whole family and it was the last time they could all go together. He just didn’t understand what breaking his word really meant.


  • jenn
    Posted on

    jenn jenn

    Reply Author

    Okay, so I was nodding my head (mentally at least) and completely agreeing with you until you got to the part about being late. Ouch!! Yeah, I will keep my word if I say I’ll call or be somewhere or do something, but being late is my problem…

    I’m working on it. Going back to school has helped since I hate walking into a classroom full of people who are all glaring at me. I figure I have to stop being late for everything if I’m going to be a teacher. I kind of have to be there before the kids.  

    Good post… even if it called me out a little bit.  🙂


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       You gotta love those points that stick you right in the heart. It happens to me all the time when I read other peoples’ posts. But…they are usually the ones that bring about change. 


  • Jake
    Posted on

    Jake Jake

    Reply Author

    I’ve been beating this drum with a long time. I have people who cancel the same meeting three or four times before it actually happens. It’s part of why I have such a giant attitude. I want to be the kind of human who understands that integrity can be painful, not because I’m masochistic but rather, because I understand that it’s valuable… Biblical… appreciated. 


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

       “I want to be the kind of human who understands that integrity can be painful, not because I’m masochistic but rather, because I understand that it’s valuable… Biblical… appreciated.”

      Even the comments you leave are poetic, never mind the posts you write!

      This is so true – and the heartbeat behind this post. Having integrity is NEVER easy, but it’s so important. 


  • Tony Alicea
    Posted on

    Tony Alicea Tony Alicea

    Reply Author

    Preach!


  • Jonathan B
    Posted on

    Jonathan B Jonathan B

    Reply Author

    I’m bad about saying I’ll do something and not following through. Sometimes, this is a result of someone asking me to do something while my mind is on something else. I automatically agree without really registering the conversation, so by the time I finish whatever I was doing I don’t remember that I’m supposed to do anything.