There were no written contracts in Jesus’ time because ink and paper were exorbitantly expensive. In fact, it’s believed that each of Paul’s epistles cost thousands of dollars to produce, with estimates ranging from $2,000 to $40,000 for just one letter! In the ancient East, the high cost of writing things down necessitated the creation of a new process for creating legal agreements. In Jewish tradition, it was customary to establish a verbal agreement, shake hands, and swear by the Name of God that they would follow their promises to each other. When they invoked the Lord in a contract, they effectively made it a verbal pact. Though I can’t say for sure, I’m betting that the ease with which such contracts could be made led to an excess of them. Understanding human nature, I’m confident that people began cutting corners, and in an effort to create optionality, or the ability to get out of a legal contract, they began swearing allegiance to the city of Jerusalem (since it is God’s city) or to His earth while avoiding their ultimate responsibility to Him. I believe He was referring to this cavalier culture when Jesus urged to quit making contracts and just live as an honest and fair person.
Friend, don’t hide behind fancy words or religious promises. Instead, be a person who is entirely committed to living, walking, and speaking the truth, even if it means taking risks. If you lose something because you were honest, God will see it and reward you. You position yourself to receive showers of benefits from Heaven by choosing to honor Him before honoring mankind, and you open the door to a greater connection with Him and with your fellow man. As you build influence with eternal impact, become a person of truth and you will inherit far more than you give up!