Do you ever stop to think about your reputation and how it defines you? Those around you know if you are loyal, hard working, caring, or compassionate. They know the negatives too!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading through Ezra. In chapter 4, I began to think about the opposition that the Israelites faced when trying to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem, and how their accusers were willing to compromise their reputation by telling lies because they didn’t get their way. Thus, I began to think about God’s reputation.
God’s reputation is the same yesterday, today, and forever. From the beginning of time, God has been consistent: Never wavering or changing. We, on the other hand, are in a never-ending wave of change. We’re human and we allow pride, arrogance, and sin to enter into our lives and cause us to make choices that can compromise our reputation. This affects our integrity. Names tell the story about the make up of an individual; when people hear a name, it has the power to make them think of a certain kind of person. What do you think when you hear the name, Jezebel? Or Lucifer? Or Mother Teresa? Or Martin Luther King, Jr? What do others think when they hear your name?
I’ve been the Worship and Technical Director at Okolona for almost a year. When I came on staff as the new guy, I only had my resume and references to verify who I was, but over the course of a year, I’ve worked very hard to prove myself: that the things written in my resume were not a bluff, but truly aspects of who I am. It is important to me that “Mac” is known as a hard worker, one who can adapt and learn quickly, and be a team player. It is important to me that “Mac” is someone who loves the Lord! What we say and do, every choice we make, defines who we are.
A GOOD NAME
Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. He tells us that “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1). “Even a young man is know by his actions – if his behavior is pure and upright” (Prov. 20:11). Throughout our lives, we are building a reputation; at the end of our life, that reputation will not only define who we are, but also define the legacy we will leave. Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth.”
When we get to the end of life and look back at our accomplishments, the key is not what we have to show for it, but rather who we were while living. Were we greedy and mean, or generous and loving: putting others first? Did we make an honest living and train our children in the ways of the Lord, or were we dishonest and neglectful? Our reputation will define your legacy. How will your legacy begin? Only time will tell. If your reputation is already defamed, it is never too late to start changing it. It may not be quick or easy, but starts with one better choice at a time. If Solomon talks highly of having a good name when we die, then I think having a good reputation is really important. Take a few minutes to consider what you are investing in your reputation today by the choices you are making.