By Pastor Mark
The retired farmer offered me his hand. We would shake on a deal for a large assortment of bee equipment he was willing to sell me. I did not have enough money to pay him at the moment, but I did not want to lose the deal. I told him if he would accept my word, I would be back in a few days with the money.
The calloused, old hand came across the table toward me and as we looked each other in the eye, we shook hands, sealing the agreement.
I admire a person with whom I can do business with a handshake. It speaks of honor, trust and integrity. These are people who fulfill their word and believe that others will as well.
Some will call me foolish, citing that people cannot be trusted. There is truth in this, but I believe the integrity of a handshake still holds merit.
There are certainly occasions for written agreements, especially when the deal is complex. But a piece of paper will not engender integrity where it does not originally exist. If you cannot comfortably shake a person’s hand, you probably shouldn’t sign a paper with them.
Jesus taught, that in giving our word, our yes should be yes and our no should be no. We should live lives that require no additional proof of our honesty.
Written agreements have their place, but God help us if we ever lose, from our society, the integrity of one’s word sealed with a handshake.
Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.