“I was in sales for a while.”
I was in auto sales. Mostly new, but sometimes used vehicles. Part of the process of sales is to connect with your customer. People buy from someone they trust. We’re put off by sleazy people and will find excuses to walk away unless we’re desperate to purchase.
There were times someone would walk in grumpy, frustrated, and put off with the entire process of buying a car and would leave smiling and calling me by name.
Why? Because I’m a nice guy? Sometimes. Because they really needed a new car or truck and I was secondary to the process? Probably more than I want to admit. But really…why would I be able to sell to some while others couldn’t?
Because I’d never lie to a customer (by the way, I was never asked to. As a matter of fact, a salesperson would be in A LOT of trouble for knowingly lying; they could lose their license.).
The Lord’s standards on me as one of His children were not commuted because I really needed to make that sale to hit my bonus that month. I wouldn’t lie; I wouldn’t swindle. I wouldn’t cheat.
In short, I took the principles and precepts of Scripture from the church house to my house. Proverbs 3:3-4 advises us to do this:
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.Proverbs 3:3-4
New International Version
Perhaps you know this already, but the word “love” in English has many different meanings. We say “love” to describe our commitment and care for our Lord, spouses, children, church family, favorite foods, vacations sports, and hobbies. Yet, when I say, “I love taco truck tacos,” I’m obviously not implying I feel the same way about tacos that I do about my wife.
While English isn’t the only language to have issues with words having ranges of meaning, when we approach the Proverbs, we are looking at Biblical Hebrew.
In Hebrew, the word in our passage translated “love” is a unique word: chesed. Chesed is a faithful bond based in a covenant. A covenant is a formal agreement between God and His people (or an individual).
Why does all this matter?
Because we have added to the Biblical idea of “love” to oftentimes make it something the text never intended. Let me illustrate. When you read verse 3 (“let love and faithfulness never leave you…”), what was your mental image of love?
Was it an emotional image you had or was it an objective perception based on an agreement or an alliance? You and I probably thought the same thing: emotion.
Emotion may be involved (certainly emotions are not sinful), but the emphasis is on loyalty. Think of the phrase in light of this: let steadfast loyalty and faithfulness never leave you. Different image, right?
How, then, do we “win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man”?
By remaining tightly intertwined with the concepts of steadfast loyalty and faithfulness. The emphasis on writing these concepts is not mere recitation. It’s a method to keep these ideas close to us so we will not be tempted to forget them.
When we win favor and possess a good name before the Lord and others, it means the steadfastness of our loyalty to the covenant with the Lord and our faithfulness to Him is paramount. We operate from the platform of the Lord’s precepts and mandates.
We are faithful to the commands the Lord has given us to the point where others notice it.
I learned a lot while I was in auto sales. Mostly, it was a front-row seat to realizing that no matter where we are or who we’ll face, our steadfast loyalty to the Lord’s standards and faithfulness to being His hands and feet will put us on a path to the Lord’s blessings.
Binding ourselves to the Lord’s cause and commands not only blesses us, it blesses others as well. It “spills over” to others not only for our favor, but for theirs.
Therefore, let’s make sure we bring it home: from the church service to our acts of service.