Don’t be a flake

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the tendency of millennials to be a bit flakey. I had intended to write this post first but decided it wouldn’t be fair to do so without highlighting the social conditions that have either created, or exacerbated, the Gen Y flakey tendency. Having done that, and with the caveat that the conditions in which millennials have found themselves are not within their control, let me now issue a call to my generation: don’t be a flake.

Jesus says don’t be a flake

It seems to be a fairly simple outworking of letting your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’ (cf. Matthew 5:37). If you’re not sold on that, perhaps ponder on his words in Luke 16:10-12:

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Jesus was pretty clear that making plans meant keeping them. Being faithful in little – for example, saying you’ll be somewhere at a particular time and actually being there – suggests you will be faithful in much. The opposite of that Jesus call dishonesty which, just in case we’re unclear, is against the ninth commandment.

The apostles say don’t be a flake

James, landing on Jesus’ words, also tells us to let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12). A similarly clear application of these verses work themselves out. If we say ‘yes’ we will be somewhere, or ‘yes’ we will do something, James expects us to be truthful enough not to flake out.

Paul similarly exhorts us to ‘present out bodies as living sacrifices’ (Rom 12:1) working this out by commanding that we be ‘not be slothful in zeal’ and, ‘fervent in spirit’ (Rom 12:11). In fact, Paul saves some choice words for those who shirk their responsibilities:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Paul directly encourages all believers to take up their responsibility so that outsiders would not think disciples of Jesus Christ to be a bunch of flakey shirkers:

walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thess 4:12)

Scripture calls us to dependability. Keeping the plans we make is a natural outworking of the command not to bear false witness and Christ’s call to let our ‘yes’ mean exactly that.

The church can’t function with flakes

The church exists to make disciples who make disciples by allowing God’s Word to work by God’s Spirit. The programmes and activities of the church, and of each individual member, are geared towards helping each person become more like Christ. Whether it is in bringing people into God’s kingdom through sharing the gospel or building up other believers by speaking God’s word to other Christian, the church is there to grow disciples into maturity in Christ.

But Paul is clear, in his metaphor of the body, that it is only when each part is working properly that such building takes place:

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15f)

This means flakiness and a lack of dependability stop the body from functioning as it ought. We are all called to commit to the body in such a way that we each individually work for its up-building. Whether that is in getting stuck in and making tea, putting out chairs, preaching, leading, welcoming, showing hospitality or whatever, each part must work properly for the body to build itself up. Flaking out on people, dropping plans made and failing to keep up commitments given stops things from working properly. It impedes things happening and it stunts the growth of the body. In fact, it stunts your own growth as part of the body.

In short, don’t be a flake.

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