Andrew Shearman talks a lot about covenant. It’s one of the themes of his life. When we get together and talk late into the night, the subject often comes up.
Andrew shakes his head at the lack of covenantal relationships in modern society. Where are the great examples for us to learn from?
Perhaps the best examples are some of the really wonderful marriages between older people. But what about in churches? What about between friends?
The subject of covenant seems mysterious to we moderns. Andrew looks in Scripture and finds there are three components of a covenant:
The promise: Two people make a mutual promise to one another. Who will they be to one another and what will they do together?
The terms: How long does the promise hold for? What happens if you break the promise?
The seal: Spouses exchange rings, Irish guys drink whisky. The seal brings a measure of solemnity to the covenant.
I realized one of the reasons that I always
preach the five aspects of a win/win agreement is that it teaches us how to make and keep promises. The main difference is that the “terms” are spelled out a little more:
1. Results/Expectations (I
expect to accomplish the following….)
2. Guidelines (I will follow these key principles and procedures as I go forward…)
3. Resources (These are the resources I know I have access to and
the ones I feel I need…)
4. Accountability (I’ll know we’ve succeeded by following this evaluation process…)
5. Consequences (What follows when the desired results are achieved or not achieved.)
Given that we struggle with commitment, we need something this concrete so we can learn how to give and keep our word for long periods of time.
Have you ever made a covenant before? Does the prospect intimidate you?