A Leader's Most Valuable Possession
“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Favor is better than silver and gold.”
~ Prov. 22:1 ESV
I remember so well, talking to my Dad right after he retired from the ministry, in his late 60’s. Fred Walker was a faithful man, a faithful husband, father, Dad and pastor throughout his life. There were a few rough spots in his relationship with his elders and others, as they were working through the final stages of his transition. He had felt some hurt by some of the things that occurred. I remembered praying for him and my dad taking long prayer retreats. He wanted to make sure his heart was right and that he held no ill will towards anyone as he was making this transition. Afterwards he spent time going to several people, asking for forgiveness and owning as much responsibility as he could for any conflict that had occurred. I talked to him about that. I didn’t feel he really owed any apologies at that point, but I was impressed by how much he wanted to work to make sure things were right. I remember the gist of the conversation was that an apology, even if not totally called for was such a small price to pay to be sure that he was right with everyone and that he had done all he could before God to maintain relational integrity.
I love Paul’s words to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 9:15 (MSG), “I’d rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives.”
I think it was Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations, who said that his goal was to live in such a way that even after he died his worst enemies would be unable to dig up anything about his testimony and dealings that would impugn his character or motives. Does this mean that he didn’t make mistakes? Of course not, it meant that he would do anything to make wrongs right and keep his motives and dealings pure before God.
Over the years I have had so many people, including the elders of the church during that transition 26 years ago, make a special effort to tell me that they will always remember and refer to my Dad as “a man of such integrity.” I have felt so deeply blessed and thankful for this.
My Dad gave me one of the greatest gifts a dad could give: a legacy of a good name, a great testimony, and a reputation of integrity.
To this day I have enjoyed undeserved favor and influence in the eyes of people in our community simply because of my Dad’s good name. By the grace of God, I have no greater ambition than to fight for this prize to pass on to my own children. I have decided I would rather die, apologize, pay money I don’t owe, have accountability partners that I share my most embarrassing secrets with, and do anything it takes for this greatest prize: the prize of a good name, a faith testimony, and the prize of my integrity before the Lord. The verdict is still out, but how I pray that God will me give me the grace for this to be so to the very end.