Reputations are difficult to build, precarious to maintain, and easy to lose. News stories are littered with individuals carelessly destroying their reputations. The pursuit of instant gratification, preservation of pride, and arrogance often bring results that touch every relationship, accomplishment, and character trait. There are many reasons that personal disasters happen, most of them linked to the worship of the god of self. It is easy to criticize, however that it not my intent. I am struck by the value of our reputations. I want to remind you of this value with the hope that you will treasure and nurture this priceless part of living.
Friends have asked what I would like to have written on my tombstone in the future. I would love to be known as a “man that nurtured and planted God's trees”. If I am fortunate enough to have others say this about my life, then I will have developed a reputation that reflects the best of what it means to live fully and completely.
Others before me have been successful. For example, “down the road a way in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, “Gazelle” in our language. She was well-known for doing good and helping out.” (Acts 9.36) Her reputation reflected the way she touched the lives of the people she knew and touched. Others are known as men and women of peace, agents of hope, and ambassadors of compassion.
The contrast with those that are greedy, arrogant, selfish, users (exploiters), and abusers is painfully stark. Despite the evidence, many find it difficult to invest in his or her self. It starts with forgiving yourself for being human. It continues in seeing and embracing the self as God does; we are priceless children of Divinity. It grows when we walk with a humble spirit, hand in hand with God's Presence.
Whatever our pasts might hold, the present is unwritten. We can be known by what we do and it pivots on this moment. We will embrace Hope or rediscover Evil. Our reputations will be written with our choice.
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