The expression “pinky promise”(linking pinkies together and shaking them in order to enforce a promise) is one that brings back childhood memories for me. I remember taking the oath of a pinky promise with my sister in matters of particular importance: letting me play with her and her friends, keeping a secret of mine, lending me something important. Basically, I wanted to be certain that this promise would go through, so we resorted to the pinky promise. Let me tell you- we didn’t use this lightly. If you pinky promised, it meant business!
Although my sister and I deemed these promises as extremely “important”, I now see how little and simple they truly were! Despite the simplicity of our childhood negotiation skills, this experience can also show something about a promise, and what constitutes a promise. For my sister and I, it wasn’t enough to just say we promised, we had to show it. This is really the expression of our human desires; that words become action. For example, if people just spoke about love, but didn’t show it through acts of service, quality time, physical touch and gifts (totally using the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman right there), we wouldn’t actually believe that this person loved us. Similarly, if my sister and I didn’t phsically form a pinky bond, we felt that the promise was invalid.
So, it’s definitely no coincidence that God gives us promises that extend beyond words. In Luke 1: 30-31 we come to understand the fullness of one of the greatest promises of God, ” And the Angel said to her…and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus”. These weren’t just nice sounding words from the lips of a heavenly angel to Mary. This was a promises which was realized through action. God showed his love for humanity in the actual pregnancy, birth and life of the child Jesus through Mary. Again, in Luke 18:32 Jesus says, ” For he will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise”. This was to foretell the kind of death He would endure for all mankind. Jesus didn’t just speak, preach, and talk about his mission- he showed it. His promises were made valid in the actions of his life, death and resurrection.
I understand this as a call to be active in the promises of Christ. To model what Jesus has shown through his earthly life. He never made a promise without following through. His words would always anticipate works of mercy and love. This is definitely a good and difficult challenge: to make the words, promises and intentions of my heart more fruitful through action. Just like the pinky promises of my childhood, I must remember to not only speak, but show the love, mercy, joy, goodness and peace of Christ with others.