Thought for the Week: The vows that we make always be honoured -​Rev Arthur Clarke

​0n May 14, 1998, American singer Frank Sinatra died. His family did not discuss with 'Old Blue Eyes' the plans they had for his funeral.
Rev Arthur ClarkeRev Arthur Clarke
Rev Arthur Clarke

​They had decided to place in his coffin a few simple items which they felt were representative of his life. The items chosen meant something to the bereaved and were basic to Sinatra's way of life.

Firstly, they placed in his coffin a packet of sweets' Tootsie Rolls' manufactured in Hoboken, the town of Sinatra's birth. Then, they placed an inscribed ring from actress Mia Farrow to represent the women in his life and a number of dimes for telephone calls to mark the bond he maintained with all of his family.

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Finally, to represent the singer's leisure pursuits, they placed a packet of 'Camel', a cigarette lighter and a bottle of Jack Daniels' whisky.

Readers, if our successors were to perform a similar service for us what items would they chose? Perhaps, material items would be insufficient as our values and expectations have an eternal dimension.

Jesus informed us: "Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothing?" With this insight, we can assert that life is not defined by accoutrements or amusements, pleasures or pursuits, but life is defined by character and strength. One's philosophy of life defines the purpose of life and determines character.

Psalm 46 referred to God as "refuge and strength". When troubles come, temptations abound and fair weather friends clear off and we face the heartache of the thousand natural shocks our flesh is heir to, then God is our refuge.

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When duty calls, truth needs defending and friends need a shoulder to cry on, then God is our strength.

A person is defined by how they discharge their responsibilities. When vows are made and promises given, then these must be honoured. The 19th century English poet Alfred Tennyson's lines are perceptive: "Made weak by time and fate, but still strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield".