Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

Chinese drywall could be one of the best things that ever happened to us.

That’s probably not something you’d expect to hear from someone who’s being forced to pack his things and find a new home while the place he lives is ripped apart to remove a biohazard that’s likely been compromising his immune system for months, so let me explain.

What makes this a GOOD thing, maybe even a GOD thing, is the fact that Beazer Homes is stepping up and going out of their way to take care of us.  As stories come out of other homebuilders basically telling their buyers “tough luck”, Beazer has gone to great lengths to not only provide for my friend who owns the home, but for all three of us who live here.

They will pay to fix the home.  They will pay for a new place to live during the repairs.  They will pay for a moving company to get us there.  They will even pay the mortgage for the existing house as long as we are unable to live in it!  This means that not only do we get to live in a comparable (perhaps even better) place for a while, but when we come back, the walls, ceilings, wiring, fixtures, and maybe even the floors will all be brand new.  Basically, we get a new house for free, plus my friend will even be able to upgrade some things while they are putting it all back together.

THAT is good business.

Now, notice I didn’t say “that is integrity”, or “that is character”.  The truth is, Beazer’s behavior IS an example of actions that line up with integrity and character, but those words carry with them a strong assumption of motive.  For all I know, Beazer’s leadership COULD have had a meeting where they decided this plan was “the right thing to do”.  They COULD have been convicted in their hearts that they should take care of the people who trusted them to provide a safe, quality home.  However, they just as easily could have NOT come to those conclusions at all, but still moved forward with their plans to bite the bullet and cover the cost to fix those homes affected by Chinese drywall.  Whether or not character had anything to do with it, the fact that Beazer is paying out like this IS clear evidence that they understand one thing very well.

A good name is more desirable than great riches.” (Prov. 22:1)

Put another way, whether or not they care at all about “the right thing to do”, Beazer understands that reputation can make you or break you.

They understand that all of their internal excellence and good management, their personal successes and good practices, their private virtues and good deeds mean NOTHING in the marketplace if they have a bad reputation.  How their words and actions communicate to the outside world matters just as much.  They understand that how well the name of “Beazer” is perceived – and how many people will trust them in the future – is enormously dependent on the behavior of their people.

The same is true for you and me.

Jesus said “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16)  We may love God with all our heart, but we must understand that how well the name of Jesus is perceived – and how many people will trust Him in the future – is enormously dependent on the behavior of His people.

God is the sovereign author of salvation, but He uses people to help it happen.  He is the one who calls us to come to Him, but He uses people to carry the message.  How you and I behave on the outside matters.

A lifestyle of worship means bringing all of our being into alignment with the Gospel and love of Christ, both our hearts and our hands, our thoughts, and our words.  It means private integrity and public witness, and when these two things are in harmony, “worship” is simply a byproduct of how we live our lives.

This week, take time each day to be honest with yourself and with God about the way your life looks on the outside.  If you truly love Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to show you where your words and deeds need to change to better reflect the light of Christ in a dark world, and ask Him show you the concrete steps you need to take to live a lifestyle of worship in all you do.