And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.”
Philippians 4:15 (ESV)
Ask anyone who works with RSVP’s and they will tell you that you should expect up to half of the people who explicitly RSVP’d yes to bail. One author suggests that flakiness is a big problem. She believes “flakiness is rooted in dishonesty with ourselves and others about what matters to us.” And then, she goes on to explain why. “What a lot of people don’t appear to understand is that the single easiest way to make friends is to show up when it matters—and the single easiest way to lose friends is to well, not.”
Back when Darryl and I were first married, we pursued a relationship with a highly respected fellow pastor. This pastor consistently made choices not to show up to commitments he made because, we found out later, more exciting opportunities presented themselves. This behavior affected us so negatively that we created a rule to govern our own conduct, called, First Commitment—Priority Commitment that we still live by today.
Once we make a commitment, we stick with it—even if another amazing opportunity comes along. As you can imagine, following this rule has been very painful at times. Especially as our circle of relationships increased here in Scottsdale, we sometimes received multiple invitations for the same dates. The hardest to give up were the things that might never be repeated.
Our situation called for a little more sophistication and we added a caveat to our rule. If necessary, we would go back to the individual or group we made the first commitment to and ask to be released. If the answer was yes, we rescheduled if we could—but, if the answer was no, we stayed the course. This was everything in developing a caring network of friendship and support we have showed up for and, in return, has showed up for us.
The Apostle Paul’s close relationship with believers in the Philippian church resulted from a shared unique commitment to support each other. Relationships begin because we have things in common or it is convenient—but friendships are forged by prioritizing each other.