Because I Said I Would

The Rev Tim Smith, pastor at Hele Road Baptist Church in Torquay. Photo: Contributed

The Rev Tim Smith, pastor at Hele Road Baptist Church in Torquay. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

“I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of £20”, is what the chief cashier of the Bank of England, Sarah John, has signed her name to, according to the lonely £20 note that resides in my wallet.   
The equivalent guarantee is made on every fiver and tenner, and I assume that Sarah John signs her name to the same statement on a £50 note, but I wouldn’t know for certain, because I’ve never held one!   
Of course, this particular monetary promise is one that doesn’t remain the same, because £20 today doesn’t buy you as much as it did in years gone by.   
According to the “thisismoney.co.uk” financial website, I’d have only had to spend ninety five pence back in 1964 (the year I was born), to obtain goods that today would cost me £20, meaning that the purchasing power promise in my pocket diminishes in value over time.   
Of course, most of the promises that you and I make are not judged in monetary terms, but according to American motivational speaker Alex Sheen, they remain of immense value.  
Back in 2012, Sheen was confronted with the death of his father from small-cell lung cancer.  As he was considering what to say at the funeral, Alex reflected on his father’s life.  “My father was an average man,” he says.   
“He didn’t run marathons, he didn’t write books, he wasn’t a war hero, he was an average everyday person; almost unnoticeable, except for one thing.  My father was a man of his word; he was there for me when I needed him”.  
Alex entitled the eulogy he gave in tribute to his father, “Because I Said I Would”.   
He wanted to remember his father by the way he lived, rather than by the way he died, saying “he was a father who made, and kept, his promises to me”.   
At that service, as well as emphasising the importance of keeping promises, Alex handed out promise cards to his family and friends.   
It was a small gesture that started a worldwide movement; he offered to send out ten such cards to anyone, anywhere in the world, free of charge.   
His message went viral, and over the past nine years, “Because I Said I Would” has distributed over three million promise cards to people all around the globe.   
The message of this movement is simple but profound:  you can enhance the lives of others, as well as yourself, by making and keeping your promises. 
“I will never leave you”, is a promise that the Lord Jesus makes to his disciples at the end of Matthew’s gospel.   
I found it a difficult promise to understand when I was a child in Sunday school, because right after saying those words, the Bible says that Jesus left his disciples and returned to heaven.   
It wasn’t until I understood that in also promising his followers the Holy Spirit, he was giving them something of himself, that I realised that Jesus was true to his word.   
In fact, the Bible is full of promises; there are thousands of them, and although some are made by people, most of them are given to men and women by God.   
His promises cover every circumstance that a person might encounter in their lives, as well as giving us assurances about what will happen when we die.   
And the testimony of those who have embraced the Christian faith is this: although many promises that people make to each other fail to last, God’s word holds true.   
As one such believer, former United States president, Jimmy Carter, now 96 years of age, concluded as he looked back over his life, “While all else may change, God’s promises remain firm”. 
(you can find out more about the promise cards of Alex Sheen at becauseisaidiwould.org).