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No Matter What It Takes

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”  Proverbs 22:1.

It only takes one significant sinful or reckless act for one’s name to be blemished.  Depending on the notoriety and fame of the person, that moment in time may be remembered long after they are dead and gone.  Let me give a few examples….

King David –Adultery and murder still remembered 3000 years later.

Adolf Hitler – Cruel, murderous despot.

Lee Harvey Oswald – Assassin.

Richard Nixon – Watergate

You have your own list that you could name easily.  Those who were in history’s spot light found it far too bright a place to be when their “good name” had been lost.  And, that list of the “famous” that have fallen is very short compared to the vast numbers of commoners that have forfeited a good job, marriage, income, and good name because of a season of bad choices.

The reasons for failure are many, but the real cause is that we are creatures with sinful natures. 

Conversely, we have tremendous respect for those men and women who lived a lifetime seeking to honor God, live with integrity, keep their promises, fulfill responsibilities, volunteer to help others, and continually be faithful and true to their mate and to their children.  Those folks are the ones Christ called “the salt of the earth”.  These constantly dedicated citizens serve without recognition or fanfare.  Rarely are they recognized at any function.  And, most will live and die in a community and never have their names in any headlines, news story, or commendation of thanks “for a job well done’.

Sadly, some of the most devoted live with situations that would break the hearts of others if their situation was publicly known.  The issues that they face are not pleasant. And, in may cases, those they love and serve are not just resistant but can be belligerent.  Their valor may never be widely known on earth, but it will be recognized by a holy God in eternity for the good deeds done in Jesus’ name while on earth.

We live in an era of unkept promises.  Nations sign important treaties and then break them at will.  And many couples show little regard for their wedding vows.  In this kind of society, we who are God’s people should be known for keeping our promises.

The brilliant Christian scholar and writer C. S. Lewis took that truth seriously.  He was determined to pay what he had vowed.  His biography tells of the suffering he endured because he kept a promise he had made to a buddy during World War I.  This friend was worried about the care of his wife and small daughter if he should be killed in battle, so Lewis assured him that if that were to happen he would look after them.  As the war dragged on, the man was killed.  True to his word, Lewis took care of his friend’s family.  Yet no matter how helpful he tried to be, the woman was ungrateful, rude, arrogant, and domineering.  Through it all, Lewis kept forgiving her.  He refused to let her actions become an excuse to renege on his promise. (Copied).