One of the King Girls

“A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;
a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank
” 
(Proverbs 22:1 MSG
).

“The King girls.”

That’s the name people give my daughters.  At school, at church, and at ballet, they have their individual personalities, but together they have a group identity, like a famous trio or a girls’ band.

We should make t-shirts.

Over the weekend, we recognized a teacher from their school and introduced ourselves.  “Hi, I’m Heather King,” I said.  “My daughters are Victoria and Lauren King . . . ”

“Oh yes,” she said quickly, “The King girls!  The AR (Accelerated Reader) superstars!”

We said goodbye to her and walked into a lobby area to register for auditions for a children’s theater production of Willy Wonka.  My older girls stepped up to the table and the lady there made the inevitable announcement, “The King girls!”

Yes, that’s us!

Even I call them that, but then I tell them why.  It’s one of my speeches.

I say: Our reputations and our names are never just our own.  We never represent only ourselves.

All of us have taken on the role ambassadors in some capacity, so we must always remember how our choices impact, not just our own reputation, but the reputation of others linked to us.

I tell them they are “King girls” in two ways.  They are daughters of James and Heather King and representatives of our family.  People look at them and make judgments about our family, our parenting, and about our faith.

But they are also Daughters of the King, the Most High God, and it is this connection that matters most.  They are living, breathing, walking-around representatives of God at home, at school, at church, at ballet, and in their community activities.  Yes, even at Wal-Mart.

When people hear my daughters’ names, they think of our family and hopefully of our faith.

What happens when people think of you?  What images pop into their heads in the instant someone pronounces your name?  When they see you step up, with whom do they associate you?

Without knowing God personally, what can they deduce about Him when they look at your life?

We might want to shirk this responsibility, preferring instead a determined independence.

Yet, it’s impossible.  People are people.  We humans make judgments, assumptions, connections.  We peer into each other’s lives and try to understand how it all fits.

It’s the way of life for sojourners.  If we packed our bags and flew around the world, shopkeepers and taxi drivers, cafe owners and villagers would watch us and decide, “That’s what Americans are like.”

So we earthly travelers, always foreigners far from our heavenly home, meet people every day who don’t know Christ.   They watch us and think, “That’s what Christians are like.  This is what it means to know God.”

It’s something David experienced even as a young shepherd boy playing his harp while the sheep grazed in the pasture.  King Saul, tormented by an evil spirit, wanted someone to soothe him with music and commissioned his court to find just the right fellow.

One of the young men answered, ‘Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him‘ (1 Samuel 16:18 ESV).

That was David’s reputation—the essentials of his character and skill, but more importantly God’s presence in his life.  This is what people said about him in town and talked about in the king’s court.  “The Lord is with Him.”

In the same way, after Paul’s conversion from Christian persecutor to defender of the Gospel, word got back to the leaders of the Jerusalem church.

“‘He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me” (Galatians 1:23-24).

There’s the point of it all.  David’s talent and his communion with God weren’t for his own personal benefit and gain.  Paul’s astounding testimony and life revolution weren’t to receive accolades and adoration.

People saw their lives and glorified God.

Paul urged the church to keep this responsibility in mind:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ
(Philippians 1:27a ESV).

and

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns (Phil. 2:15-16 MSG).

That is what we desire.  As we meander through this life of ours, running errands, working at our jobs, leading our kids through grocery store aisles, meeting with teachers, sitting by hospital beds . . . we pray that others will glorify God because of us.

Don’t you want this?  I so do.  It’s my passionate desire that with one glance at my life people will see Jesus and say, “She’s a Jesus girl.  She loves God.  She’s crazy in love with the Bible and bubbling over with God’s Word.  It’s her favorite thing to talk about–the thing that makes her come alive.”

Let us all be “breaths of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society” so that people can glimpse “the living God” when they watch us.  And they are watching; that’s a given.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Whatever You Do, Part I

Don’t forget the giveaway going on to celebrate the one-year anniversary of this blog!  You can read all about it here and posting a comment anywhere on the blog this week will enter you to win!!

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I’m not a crafty person.  I’m not a Pinterest pinner, a craft project blogger, or an Etsy addict. Oh, I admire the creativity of others (okay, perhaps ENVY their artsyness), but I’ve accepted my limits and stopped trying to feel comfortable in the aisles of Michael’s and Joann Fabrics.

Yet today I sit at my table with glitter, craft foam, stamps, stencils, markers, colored paper and scissors to complete one item on my day’s to-do list: Make personal Valentine’s for my three girls.

Years ago, a man from our church told me that you can do many great things for daughters, but there are only two necessary things: Let them know they are beautiful and let them know they are loved.

I’ve thought about this often.  Perhaps he is right.

If I remove these two primary insecurities, they will be free and brave enough to pursue their talents, develop their minds, take on difficult projects and reach out to people.

At least for today, this thought has inspired me to turn my limited crafting skill into the most basic of all art projects: a handmade card.  It’s not because I think the final outcome will be displayable or frameable.  I could buy a better-looking card for a few dollars off the Wal-Mart rack.

It’s because I know that my daughters feel special when I make things for them and I want them to know they are loved.

As I sit making a mess out of glue and paper, I think about a biography I’ve been reading of E.B.White, the American essayist and author of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan.

In the summer following college, White grabbed a friend and a car and drove completely across the United States—before highways existed to make this kind of national crisscrossing an all-American past-time.  They stopped in small towns and performed odd jobs or sold bits of White’s writing to local newspapers so they could buy food and gas.  They slept outside or in the car or wherever they could.  Arriving on the West Coast, White then hopped on a ship bound for Alaska.

Elbow deep now in glitter, I marvel that a human being would take off across the country without a plan, without connections, without a return date.

Crazy man, that E.B. White!

We’re so often people looking for purpose in life.  We want a grand vision, a neon sign.  We want impact.  We want to know the one reason we exist on this earth.

For E.B. White, this meant trekking without a plan and discovering himself while discovering America.  Even so, I’m not jealous of him for all of his wanderings and adventures.

For as much as we overlook the beauties of the everyday, I wonder if they are truly the key to God’s greatest plan for us.

Surely God receives big glory from big things.  The massive ministry, the arena packed full, the bestseller, the major miracle, the international program, the made-into-a-movie-story bring Him grand-scale recognition.

Yet I believe a daily life well-lived brings Him glory, too.  My marriage strong and lasting.  My daughters beautiful and loved, learning their Awana verses and showing kindness.  My small-town impact to the cashier at Wal-Mart.  My weekly shelving of books in the school library.  My prayer time each week for the school and its staff.

This means that instead of always ignoring today for the sake of the grand design of tomorrow, we give God glory in our jobs and our homes and relationships and churches.  We do what He has called us to do here, now, in this moment.  We do it faithfully.  We work at it with all our heart.

God had a great plan for Joseph’s life, yet it was worked out in days, months and years of serving as a slave in Potiphar’s house and then, as a prisoner himself, overseeing others locked in Egyptian jail cells.

Joseph’s ministry all that time involved washing dishes, working fields, carrying messages, figuring accounts, and managing property.  It was his integrity and faithful hard work in the everyday tasks that allowed God to use him more and more.

In Genesis 39, we are told “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man. . . . His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.  So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had” (Genesis 39:2-4).

Had Joseph balked at the menial tasks of slavery or begrudgingly gave second-best efforts as he served in Potiphar’s house, he might have remained a slave or a prisoner his entire life.  He would never have become second-in-command to Pharaoh, overseeing Egypt and ultimately saving the nation from devastating famine.

Egypt may not have survived as a nation without Joseph.

Joseph’s father, Jacob, and his ten brothers and their families—the entire nation of Israel—may also have starved as the famine reached their land.

At least two nations depended on Joseph’s daily faithfulness to the tasks at hand.

Paul wrote:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

and

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

This is how we bring glory to God.  It’s in the making of a Valentine’s card and the packing of a lunch.  It’s in the shuffling of the wet laundry from washer to dryer.  It’s in the standing at the stove to prepare a meal.

It’s you at your desk.  It’s you in the classroom.  It’s you teaching Sunday School.  It’s you on your knees.  This is what brings Him glory.

You can read more devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King