A Good Reputation

I was nineteen and sitting at the kitchen table early in the morning, dutifully listening to my grandfather read the daily devotional before we went to work in the fields.  I deeply respected him.  He was a strong Christian, a deacon in the church, and a recognized leader in the community.  Each summer I looked forward to the time when it was my turn to spend a few weeks helping him on the farm. 

Although it was customary for grandpa to read the devotional and then make an entry in his journal concerning the weather and who was visiting for the day, it was only a routine exercise with little meaning from my point of view.  But on that particular morning, grandpa got my attention.  He read Proverbs 22:1 from the Bible, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”  Then he followed up with Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s life.”  Without so much as batting an eye he slowly said, “David, it takes a lifetime to build a good name, but only thirty seconds to destroy it.”  

I did not think grandpa knew how I was living at the time.  I thought I was covering it up fairly well, but God knew my rebellion and the ungodly choices I had been making.  My grandparents had built upon the spiritual foundation left to them by my great grandparents.  The Word of God and grandpa’s statement made it crystal clear to me that, because of my lifestyle, I was beginning to bring shame and disgrace to my grandparents and the family.  Within a few months from that time, God used that experience along with other things to convict me of my sin and bring me to repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ.  He changed my life.

A good reputation seems to be increasingly harder to find within our society.  Perhaps one of the reasons why is that the principles of the Bible have been continually set aside as the perfect standard and replaced by man’s faulty reasoning.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12).  

It is imperative that we keep Scripture in the forefront of every area of our lives and the lives of our families. We must build a strong foundation on God’s Word.  The results will be positive and beneficial to the family unit as well as to society as a whole.