“I will confirm my covenant between me and you . . .” – Genesis 17:2
Contracts are part of our lives. No one in this day-and-age can escape being party to a contract of some sort. If you have a roof your head, for example, whether a house or an apartment, rented or purchased, you no doubt signed a contract. And anyone in any kind of business is certainly familiar with the world of contracts. Even in professions such as my own, contracts between coach and client are common practice. Simply put, contracts are legal agreements that bind two or more parties to fulfill their part of the bargain.
Such documents, of course, would not be necessary if participating parties could be trusted to fulfill their promises. Unfortunately, though, humans from the beginning of time have had a history of failing to do so. There are exceptions, however, like Jerry – about whom I have written before – who for thirty years was my closest friend in my previous profession. He and I would talk daily during the work week sharing information and ideas. And although we were in the same business, we were in fact competitors – at least the companies we worked for were competitors, and bitter ones at that. Yet, through the years we partnered on hundreds of transactions that proved extremely lucrative for both our firms. But because these transactions demanded immediate decision-making, written contracts were not consummated until long after the fact, and then only to satisfy regulatory requirements for documentation. And not once in the course of thirty years was there ever a dispute, disagreement, or misunderstanding.
The key to success, you see, had little to do with a contract between two firms, and everything to do with the covenant between two long-time friends. The difference between the two according to writer, philosopher Os Guinness is that “a covenant is broader and a contract narrower, the one being emphatically moral and the other being purely legal.”
Indeed, God’s promise to Abraham was a covenant, not a contract. “I will confirm my covenant between me and you . . .,” He pledged. His was also a covenant with Moses and the Israelite people. Contracts are legal agreements devised for humans, but covenants include elements of the Divine. No one in this day-and-age can escape being party to a contract of some sort. What we need in our world today are more covenants.