Dependability is the quality of being able to be counted on. Dependable people are reliable. They do what they said they would do and are worthy of trust. When we have an important task that must be completed within a specific timeframe, we look for dependable people. Dependability is a valuable character trait that also reflects a person’s trustworthiness, honesty, and responsibility.
The opposite of dependability is unreliability. People who are chronically late, overbook their schedules, or take on tasks they have no way of completing are not dependable. Part of dependability is knowing one’s own limits. For example, Sue has been asked to serve in the nursery for the next three weeks. She agrees to do this, but on week 2, she calls the director Sunday morning stating that her family is leaving for a planned vacation. Sue knew about the vacation, but she did not consider whether or not she could fulfill her promise before committing herself to the nursery. If Sue had cultivated the quality of dependability, she would have politely turned down the initial request to serve when she knew she would be unable to fulfill the responsibilities.
Dependability in a person will prevent that person from being a gossip: “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13). Dependability makes one a blessing to his or her employer: “Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master” (Proverbs 25:13). We should be dependable because God is. Scripture often pictures God as a strong rock or an enduring fortress (2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 9:9; 59:16; 62:7), and the words of God “are fully trustworthy” (Psalm 119:138).
Boaz is a model of dependability in the book of Ruth. When Ruth asks Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer, he agrees to take on that responsibility, if he is legally able to: “As surely as the Lord lives I will do it” (Ruth 3:13). Later that morning, Ruth tells her mother-in-law, Naomi, what had transpired. Naomi’s council is to “wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today” (verse 18). Boaz’s reputation was one of dependability; he would do what he said he would do.
Dependable people keep their vows, even at personal cost. God takes our vows seriously. Dependability was commanded in God’s Law for Israel: “When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said” (Numbers 30:2; cf. Ecclesiastes 5:4; Psalm 50:14). Dependable people live by the old adage: “My word is my bond.” James 5:12 reminds us that we shouldn’t need to swear by anything in order to be believed. Our simple yes or no should be like gold to those who receive it.
Believers will receive rewards when they see Jesus, and some of those rewards will reflect our dependability. The words we long to hear are “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Faithfulness is also a part of dependability. We continue in His Word (John 8:31). We endure through trials and suffering (1 Peter 2:20–21; 2 Timothy 2:3). We pursue holiness and consider our sinful flesh to be crucified with Christ (1 Peter 2:16; Romans 6). We invest all God has given us for His glory and His purposes (Luke 19:12–26; 1 Corinthians 10:31). When God considers us dependable, we will receive the reward given to faithful servants (Revelation 22:12).