What does your reputation matter? The Bible says a whole lot according to Proverbs 22:1. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Should one strive for a good reputation? What do you do when your reputation has been sullied? How do you get it back? What about the people who think about you far too highly?
I would have thought God wanted me to protect my reputation until I read Revelation 3:1. “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” When I read this, I felt relief in one way and a concern in another.
What people say about you matters. I was told recently that my reputation was being checked out (for a valid reason). The people came away with thinking that I had a perfect reputation. Does that mean that I am who they say I am? Am I who my family says I am? What about the people who think far too highly of me? Are they correct I their assumptions? Which reputation is right? Which reputation matters?
The answer is none of the above. You can have a stellar reputation that doesn’t mean anything unless it is authentic in God’s sight. Your reputation is only judged genuine by the one who knows the truth about you. The only one who knows your true self and your true reputation is God. God not only looks for deeds, but He looks for deeds to be genuine. Your deeds and reputation can be seen one way on earth and another in heaven and it is heaven’s view that matters.
Take Judas, for example, he had a reputation for handling the business aspects of their group so the disciples assumed that Jesus was dismissing him to carry out a private assignment when he left the Upper Room to betray Him—only Jesus knew Judas’ true deeds. People, including the disciples, didn’t think a lot about the widow who put in such a small amount of offering it barely made a sound in the offering plate. Yet, Jesus highlighted her faith and generosity as much more extravagant than the loudest offering. Jesus told so many stories about good sons, and first hour workers who didn’t really show up when it really mattered. Samaritans had the worst reputations in Jesus’ day, yet they were shown to have great faith by the woman at the well, the leper who returned to give thanks, and the story Jesus told about the Good Samaritan.
The world will give you a good reputation if you are gain riches and power. The church world looks for you to share keen insights into God’s word, build hospitals and water wells. In the end it really doesn’t matter what they say about you—good or bad. What really matters is what God says is true of you. The Christian life is not a list of deeds to be accomplished. Certain Christian deeds can earn you a good reputation among certain people, but those same deeds may be meaningless unless they relate to a deep, honest and authentic love of God. AW Tozer wrote: “If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Spirit-filled Christian.”
Good deeds may be good, and they may lead to a good reputation, yet these same good deeds are meaningless if they are not done out of deep love for God. Does your reputation matter?