It is a special moment in every wedding ceremony, when the bride and groom say to each other: “I do.” Beyond the warm and fuzzy feelings of the wedding ceremony, these are serious words, even if they haven’t been taken so seriously in our 21st century world. “I do” means bride and groom are serious about their relationship and future together. The couple’s commitment is serious enough to invite family and friends as "witnesses" to what they are promising one another.
Weddings vows are not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, time we make serious, public commitments in life. There are other vows we make that are also very serious. Consider these special moments in a person’s life.
- Graduation: Depending on the specific profession, you vow to exercise our acquired skill with honesty, respect, and integrity, to the benefit of others. Some professions have even more serious vows, like the medical oath to “do no harm.”
- Joining a Church. The vows usually include something like, “Do you confess Christ as your Savior; will you uphold the church by your prayers, your presence, your gifts and your service and continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus? The response: “I do and I will.”
- Inauguration into Public Office. Political leaders often vow to “uphold the laws of the land” to the best of their abilities and work for the benefit of the people.
Vows Make Us Accountable
Each vow implies a deep level of accountability to the people who are witnessing that moment. The doctor is accountable to patients and medical authorities. Political leaders are accountable to the people who voted for them. When one joins a church, he or she is accountable to every other member of that body.
Accountability Fosters Growth
By holding each other accountable in love, a healthy married couple grows in intimacy and love. Being accountable to patients and colleagues, doctors build their professional reputation. With the encouragement and accountability from the church, you and I will be able to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Leaders Who are Accountable Finish Well
There are numerous ways in which our integrity is challenged. Every new day brings challenges to our character and new opportunities to fail. Only through a serious system of accountability to God, to ourselves, to a small group of believers, and to the Body of Christ at large, will we live lives of integrity and finish well in life and leadership.