Key Verse

Pay thy vows unto the most High.
— Psalm 50:14

Is It Really Necessary?

Deuteronomy 23:21-23; 1 Samuel 1:9-18, 24-28; Ecclesiastes 5:2, 4-5

Christian wondered about keeping the vow he had made.

“Your mother is very, very sick. If the Lord doesn’t undertake soon, I am afraid she won’t be with us long.”

Christian’s eyes filled with tears again as his father’s words echoed in his mind. Looking out his bedroom window into the dark sky, he wondered why this illness had to happen to his mother. As he thought about her, he remembered a little saying she often used. “Whatever the need you have today, God will take heed if you’ll only pray.”

Kneeling beside his bed, Christian prayed. “O God, You know how I hurt inside. I know You can heal my mother . . . Lord, if You’ll heal her I promise that I . . . I won’t eat lunch for a year!” He continued praying, and after a time a calmness came into his heart and he went to sleep.

During the next few days his mother grew only worse. But Christian kept on praying, and often repeated his promise to God.

One morning he awoke to the sound of crying coming from his parents’ room. Fear gripped his heart as he ran down the hall and through the open door. “Mom! Dad! What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong, Christian, nothing at all,” his father responded with a beaming face. “Your mother and I were just rejoicing about something wonderful. You tell him, Dear.”

“The Lord touched me early this morning, and I know He has healed me completely!”

Christian marveled at his mother’s strong, clear voice and the bright expression on her face. And she was sitting up in a chair—something she hadn’t done for weeks.

“Oh, Mother, I’ve been praying for a miracle and God has answered,” cried Christian as he ran over to her.

The joy of the miracle was all Christian could think of that morning. But as he sat down in the cafeteria at lunchtime, another thought suddenly entered his mind. I can’t eat this! God has healed Mom and I made a promise to Him! As he sat there watching the others eat he wondered if he could really keep his promise.

When Christian arrived at home, he was delighted to find his mom up and even working in the kitchen.

“Hi, Mom!”

“Christian, I can’t tell you how good it is to be up and around again! Here, let me clean out your thermos. Say, it feels like it’s still full!”

Christian sat down and explained to his mother about his promise.

“Well, Son, that’s quite a vow you’ve made on my behalf. I’m sure the Lord will honor you for keeping it.”

The next few days weren’t too bad for Christian during the lunch hour since he could usually concentrate on how wonderful it was that his mother was alive. After a while, however, he began to question whether continuing to go without lunch was that necessary.

“Dad, how important are vows?”

Laying down the paper and motioning for Christian to get the Bible, his father gave him a serious look.

“That’s a good question, Son. Your mother told me about your vow and I had a hunch you’d be wanting to know a little more about it soon. In Ecclesiastes we read: ‘When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ Christian, you may not have had to promise exactly what you did. But since you did, as a Christian you are bound to perform it. The Lord knows you did it out of love for your mother, and I believe you can count on Him to help you to keep it.”

Christian sat silently for a few moments, thinking. At last he said, “Thanks, Dad. You know, I think I’ve learned an important lesson about vows. If we decide on our own to make a promise to God, we should make sure it’s something that we are really willing and able to do.”

Christian’s lunchless year did finally come to an end. As he headed out the door with a lunch sack in hand, he turned and smiled at his parents.

“Oh, yeah! I almost forgot to tell you . . . I made a vow to God this morning!”

His startled parents both spoke at once, “You did what?”

“I told the Lord I would serve Him with all my heart for the rest of my life. I figured that if He could help me keep a vow like the last one, then He could surely help me keep this one!”

As they watched Christian head down the sidewalk, his dad smiled and said, “A lot of wisdom in that fourteen-year-old son of ours . . . a whole lot of wisdom.”