“Hello Annie, how are you?”

“Hello Pastor, I’m good, thank you,” Annie answered as she shook the Pastor’s hand at the end of the service. It was a custom to shake everyone’s hands after the second service.

“I heard you have been taking violin lessons, how has that been going?”

“Very good, Pastor, I have learned several hymns. My favourite is ‘It is well with my Soul.’”

“That is one of my favourite hymns as well. We would love to hear you play. Would you like to play a special for us next Sabbath?” asked Pastor as he took out his agenda and a pen, ready to write down a reminder.

“Sure Pastor, I can do a special next Sabbath,” Annie answered without hesitation. She felt confident. Mother stood by her side and smiled.

As soon as Annie got home, she began to practise her special. However, as the week went by, she started to feel less and less confident. During one of her practise sessions, she began to feel scared. She could already feel everyone looking at her. This would certainly cause her fingers to sweat, her hands to tremble and it was definite she would make a mistake. Just thinking about it made her heart race. No, she couldn’t this; she must ask mother to call Pastor and cancel the special. Mother watched Annie; she could see something was wrong. She had been sitting on the sofa, crocheting, as she listened to Annie practise.  Suddenly, the music had stopped, and Annie was as white as a sheet of paper.

“Annie?” mother stopped crocheting, she was concerned.

“Mother, I can’t do it.” Annie was almost in tears, “I’m scared, Mother; can you please call Pastor and tell him I won’t do it?”

“No, Annie, I can’t and I won’t,” mother said sternly.

“But why? Please Mother, I don’t want to anymore.”

Mother reached for the family Bible, and opened it up to Ecclesiastes 5:5.

“Annie, you made a promise when you said yes to Pastor,” said Mother.

“I didn’t promise, I only said yes,” said Annie, trying to find a way out.

“Well, when you say yes to someone, it’s like you are making a promise. A promise is to assure someone that you will definitely do something. Saying ‘yes’ is the same thing. The Bible says, ‘let your yes be yes and your no be no.’ Not only that, in Ecclesiastes 5:5, God tells us through His word that ‘better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ In other words, if you can’t keep your word, then you should not say yes in the first place.

“If you said yes, then you follow through. Next time you must not be so impulsive to give an answer. It is better you let the person know you will think about it and later give them an answer rather than answering quickly and then regretting your answer. As Christians, we must keep our word and feel ashamed when we change our answer. This will teach you that when you make a promise to God, you must learn to keep that promise. You said ‘yes’; now keep your word.”

Annie listened to Mother and it all made sense. She had given her word to Pastor, and if she went back on her word, she knew she would feel ashamed of it. She had to pray for courage.

“Mother, will you pray with me so He will give me courage?” Mother was very happy. They knelt down and prayed.

On Sabbath, Annie played the hymn on the violin. She was not afraid because God gave her courage. She was very happy she had kept her word.