The world should know us because of the way we live
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” — Psalm 1
How do you write a letter of reference for a person of unsavory character? Answer, you may write the reference, without speaking about that person’s character.
Many years ago, when I worked in finance, an associate of mine wrote a reference for a client. I read the reference, which did not say very much. I pointed out to my associate that the letter did not say anything about the person’s character. He simply responded, “They will get the message when they read the letter.”
I learned quite a bit that day. One cannot give character to people. Either an individual has character or does not.
Someone once wrote, “Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next. The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.” They continued: “Reputation is what you are supposed to be; Character is what you are.”
The above text tells us that a good man is blessed because he does not walk in the council of the ungodly. He does not stand in the way of sinner or sit in the seat of the scornful.
The word for sinners in the Hebrew language refers to archery. The term meant “to fall short or miss the mark.” Sinners fall short of the mark of God. The mark is the will of God.
Sin is the transgression of God’s law. The word sin here refers to those who have deliberately chosen a way of life, or a path contrary to the will of God.
The Lord knows those who are his by name. We can only know them by their character.
The God-fearing person delights in the law of the Lord. He meditates on the Lord’s word day and night. He cleaves to that which is good. The word of God is his benchmark or guide.
Because he is guided by the word of the Lord, he keeps out of the way of the ungodly. Even though the Law of God may sometimes be a yoke, the good man holds on to it, “He delights in it.” He has a habitual regard for the word of the Lord. It’s his comfort and his strong hold.
The word of God should be interwoven in our being and a part of our daily interaction. As Christians, the world should know us not because we say we are Christians, but because of the way we live.
The text says he will be like a tree planted by streams of water. He brings forth fruit. His leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Why does the good man bring forth fruit and his leaves do not wither? He enjoys success because he is blessed. Through God’s blessings he enjoys happiness.
The good delights in the law of God. He receives strength and vigor from the Lord and his practices will be fruitful.
“The way of the righteous persist because it exists in the mind and will of God.” In our baptism he chose us, guides, and orders our steps.
Therefore, the good man lives in the grace of God. His character speaks volumes about God. He emulates the person of Jesus Christ who lived among us and set a standard for us all to follow. Amen.
- Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; E-mail: [email protected].