“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).
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