Dr. Thomas Lane Butts: Family Matters, Part 2

Several years ago, Bishop Earnest Fitzgerald related an interesting story of an experience he had when he was a very young preacher.

He was traveling along a country road one night after having preached at a rural church and he ran out of gas. He had just passed a country store and thought he had seen a light on. He walked back to the store, which was still open, and the old man who was the proprietor was preparing to close for the night. The young Rev. Fitzgerald walked in and told the man his name and then said he had run out of gas just about a mile down the road. He asked if he could put a couple of gallons in a can, take it to his car, then drive back and fill up.

As the old man put a couple of gallons in a can, Earnest felt in his pocket for some cash. realizing he had no cash, he offered to write a check, but the old man said he did not take checks. "No money, no gas", he said. Ernest pulled out several credit cards, but the old man said that the store was a ‘cash only' business and he did not take credit cars.

The young preacher told the man he was a Methodist preacher and he had been preaching at a church nearby that night. If he could get enough gas to get home he would come back the first thing the next day and pay him. The old proprietor said: "I've heard every story there is to be told - no money, no gas." Ernest saw that his only option was to walk back to his car and just stand there hoping someone would come along and help him.

As the disheartened young minister turned to leave and the old man asked: "What did you say your name was?" The young preacher said, "I am Ernest Fitzgerald." The old proprietor then asked: "Did you ever know Mr. Jim Fitzgerald?" Ernest responded: "Mr. Jim Fitzgerald was my father."

Hearing that, the old man's reticense evaporated. He said, "Well, if that is the case, take the gas can, put the gas in your car and come back and fill up. Then next time you are passing this way, you can stop and pay me." The young minister was relieved beyond description!

With the gas from he old propietor, he walked back to his car, then drove back to the country store where he filled his tank. As he was riding home on a full tank of gas, the young preacher thought to himself, "I have just bought gas on the good name of my father who has been dead for ten years! How can I ever thank him?!"

The good name of a father or mother or brother or sister matters. You never know when the good name of a family member, living or dead, will rise up to save you in a crisis. How can you ever repay them? You can establish such a reputation of integrity in your own life that even when you are dead and gone, your name will still live on to bless you children and grandchildren.

There is saving power in a good family name. Everything you do either adds to or subtracts from that family name.

Family matters.