Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lookin’ Good

“Then you will favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
                                                                                       Proverbs 3:4
Finding favor and a good name with men is one thing; finding them with God is another matter. The question is, “How can one get both?” Neither comes easily, trivializing their value. The standards for God and men differ, one size doesn’t fit all.
I find the favor of men arbitrary, based on merit or benefits either perceived or real to be gained; for example, consider Mother Teresa. People of every station in life honored and favored this woman and her work with the poor people of India. She lived a simple lifestyle, not exactly a candidate for paybacks. On the other hand, enter a popular restaurant on a busy night and your chance of getting seated in a timely manner depends on the size of a tip to the Maitre D’. His favor comes with a price tag. In the political arena campaign contributions often contain the expectation of favors for the donor. Celebrities, athletes and businesspeople receive and at times demand special treatment even when their professions and lifestyles benefit no one but themselves. Man’s favor is fickle, here today and gone tomorrow. There’s always someone newer, cuter, richer, smarter, whatever who emerges and takes your place.
Proverbs 3:3 shares the key to attaining real favor and a good name; it does matter how you acquire them. The verse lists God first, then men. What are God’s criteria for dispensing favor? How do we become highly regarded in His eyes? “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). This isn’t the path the popular success book, Looking Out For Number One proposed. Love and faithfulness are paramount with God, not sacrifice, goal setting, achieving and maximizing natural talent, skill and ability. With love and faithfulness as top priorities, these other things fall into place naturally. Jesus put it this way, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (emphasis mine, Matthew 6:33).
Love paves the way for giving that neither expects nor demands attention or accolades. A gift’s generosity diminishes, the recipient reduced to a means to an end when the motive is recognition, selfishness not love. Faithfulness means prudence, good sense, insight understanding and happiness. The world is filled with successful, unfaithful people. Often their accomplishments are overshadowed or even destroyed through sheer stupidity. The problem wasn’t the goal desired but the lack of integrity and character. What we build stands or falls based on the foundation we’ve laid.
Establishing love and faithfulness as our life’s bedrock is crucial. These in place God can entrust a man or woman with great responsibilities. His favor opens unimaginable doors of opportunity and provides a rich, exciting life. What reward or honor compares to hearing Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)? When God considers you honorable and trustworthy does it matter what anyone else thinks? Pursue favor and a good name with God first, on His terms, and you’ll receive it from others sans the nonsense and manipulation so often attached.
            Consider this, do you prefer to look good in God’s eyes, man’s eye’s or both? Is a “flash in the pan” status worth forfeiting eternal, divine recognition? Love and faithfulness are fashion keys to “lookin’ good”; they keep you a timeless classic and not a passing fad.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it can seem unloving to others when you obey God and please Him above pleasing them. In reality, the end result of obeying God, being faithful to Him, will result in the best for everyone, even though others might misunderstand. It is difficult when you don't know the why? of a situation. Why do I need to say no to that? Why can't I go in this direction? Why do I have to stay put? One thing is sure ---- when your actions line up with your words---- you are a person that can be trusted. When you can be trusted, you are truly loving. Thought provoking blog, Mary. You've got me thinking again ---oh, the pain! Ha! Ha!