I was sitting with some of my church family last night at our Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts event. We got on the subject of high school reunions, and then it became about what our reputations were in high school. Most of us have changed quite a bit since we were teenagers. On our social media accounts, many of us are "friends" with people we knew just when we were in school, and can only get an idea of our lives by what we post.
Reputations can partly be based on who you hang out with. When my niece was a little girl, she helped form a "Twirly Dress Club", and other girls could be in it only if they wore twirly dresses. That sounded like an exclusive club, especially for 4-year olds. It also sounds like my niece was a mean girl, hanging out with other mean girls. I kept saying, "The McCrea girls (my sisters and I) were known as nice girls, friends with everyone. How could my niece be so mean?" [For the record, my 16-year old niece is now a VERY kind and considerate young lady.]
Who did Jesus spend His time with while here on earth? What was His reputation? His disciples were not considered the best-of-the-best, nor part of any elite religious groups. Jesus grew up in a small town called Nazareth. Nathanael said "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46) Jesus walked around, spending most of His time with those considered outcasts. He healed the sick, the blind, the lame. the demon-possessed. He taught everyone who was willing to listen. The religious elite were afraid of Him and thought He was blaspheming. The townspeople heard He could do miracles and showed up to be healed, or watch others be healed. The Romans considered Him a troublemaker, and a threat to their power. When Jesus was taken to court and crucified, many abandoned Him, even those closest to Him. He still died on that cross for them. and for us. We now follow Christ because of what He did for us, not for anything we have done.
Our reputations now need to be as followers of Christ, seeking what is right and good. Our behaviors, our actions, our motives, should all be to reflect Christ, not ourselves.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
2 The rich and the poor meet together;
the Lord is the Maker of them all.
3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.[a]
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
Proverbs 22:1-5 (ESV)