On my drive back from the cemetery at St. John, I thought of something I wish I would have said: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” This simple statement from Proverbs 22:1 offers a profound description of Roger Taylor.
When I spoke at Roger’s funeral yesterday, it was easy to think of good things to say about this extraordinary example of humanity. Decent, kind, and generous, are three words that offer an honest estimation of the genuine life Roger lived as a husband, a father, and a Christian.
Ben Franklin once said that, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Roger lived a life of good deeds. As I reflect on his many years as a member of First Christian, I remember his willingness to serve as a deacon, an elder, and the chairman of the board—always unassuming and never wanting to ruffle any feathers.
Because they would make Roger blush, I’m a little reluctant to close with the next line or two; however, they are so true, I shall. D.L. Moody said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Roger has been a man of character, and he developed the reputation of being a man of “tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering (Colossians 3:12).”
A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank. The rich and the poor shake hands as equals—God made them both! A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered. The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life. ~ Proverbs 22:1-4 (The Message)