My father lived in the same small town for over 40 years. During that time, he acted as a servant to the community. He paid his bills on time. He was known to be honest, helpful, and kind. If he said he'd do something, people know he would carry it out if he possibly could have. Because he was a man who keept his word, a man who behaved responsibly, he had developed a good reputation. He had a good name in town.

I am my father's daughter. For 40 years, I've lived in the same small town where my father lived. I could take one of his checks into a store, and the clerks know it is a good check. -- but if someone outside the family would show up with one of Carl's checks, the clerks would be suspicious. If I give someone a message over the phone that Carl had wanted them to do  so-and-so, they know it's a valid message. If I had said he would be a certain place at a certain time, they know he would be there if at all possible.

The people in town knew him. He had a good name. They know me. I have a good name. People we know are willing to trust our word.

But if I had lied, cheated, stolen, frequently been angry in public, gotten into drugs -- if I had shown myself unreliable -- things would be different. I would have dishonored myself, and my father's name. Hopefully people would still honor my father's word, his good name. But they would shake their heads at how the daughter behaved. If I didn't have a good reputation, they might not have liked me to take his checks to the bank to get cash in return. When they saw me coming they would think, "Watch out! Don't trust her!"

If once I dishonored my father's name, even if I were ever so sorry afterwards, it would be a long while before anybody trusted me again to act wisely on his behalf. It would take a lot of work on my part, repentance and a determination to change, and a lot of people "watching to see what I would do," before the community would trust me strongly. It's a lot harder to "undo" a bad name, a bad reputation, than it is to keep a good name intact.

We have a Heavenly Father. He has a good name, a trustworthy name. He will keep His promises. He'll do what He says he will. When we accept Christ as our Savior, when we try to honor His name, then we have a good name. Let us try hard not to dishonor that Name. And may we thank Him, always, that he has "adopted us into his own family." (We're part of the family of God.) His reputation becomes ours. 

Prayer: Oh, God, please help us to act wisely in our Father's name. Thank you that you have given us your good name. And you have "promised to keep us from falling, and present us faultless" before you. It is not our ability to keep Your name. It's your own faithfulness that keeps us. It's not our ability to "act right", but your keeping power working inside us. But we thank you for giving us Your good name. And thank you that you "guarantee to bring us" to yourself. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


copyright 1998-2004 by Marilee Miller    May be copied and distributed for non-commercial, no-charge use