A Good Slovak

I want to share a devotion with you in a passage from The Sermon on the Mount…


“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” – Matthew 5:33-37


When I was a College Pastor I used to take college students to Slovakia in the summer to teach English to High School Students there.  It was a really cool mission’s opportunity because the local missionaries ran English clubs.  And learning English is key for your future if you are a High School Student in Eastern Europe.  So, there were always a lot of Slovak High School students who we would get to know and most of whom I still keep up with on Facebook.


One day while I was teaching my English class we were talking about the qualities of a friend.  I would say certain descriptive words of a friend in English and then my translator would translate what the equivalent word was in Slovak.

When I got to the word “dependable,” my translator stopped talking.  When I asked him what was wrong, he explained to me that there was not a word in Slovak that communicated this idea.  He told me that in Slovak culture if you say you are going to do something, you do it.  And, if for any reason, you don’t think you can fulfill a commitment, you don’t commit to it on the front end.


Unbelievably, there literally is not a word for “dependable” in Slovak.  It seems to me that they have a much better understanding of today’s passage than most of us do.  Let’s all be Slovaks today and let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No” be “No.”