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How's Your Reputation?

Do You Value Your Reputation?
Proverbs says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1

What do people know you for? A clean house? A good cook? A thrifty shopper? Well-behaved children?
What kind of reputation does God want you to have?

Have you ever read about the Prophet Hosea?
God told him, “Marry a harlot.” (Not a good beginning for a happy marriage.)
How would you have responded?
“Lord, I’m an outstanding leader in my church. I’m known in my community as an upright man. My family depends upon me to do right. I could never soil my reputation.”

What did Hosea do?
Hosea 1:3 He obeyed.
They had two sons and a daughter together. Hosea loved his wife.
Don’t you wish for a happy ending? After all, Hosea obeyed God. Shouldn’t Hosea’s love turn her around, make her faithful?
How did she treat him?
In Hosea 3:1, in spite of Hosea’s love for his wife, she deserted him.
His heart was ripped apart.
Did Hosea consider his reputation even then?
After marrying a harlot, people would say, “What did you expect? Divorce her.”
But he couldn’t. He loved her.
And Hosea waited for her return.

All this was a picture, a living reality for Hosea, of what God’s people were doing to God.
This was done in obedience to God.

Sometimes God tells us to do things that aren’t accepted by our community.
Hudson Taylor, a missionary, dressed like the Chinese, and put his hair in a ponytail. Though not accepted by the missionary community, he was beloved by the Chinese who found God by knowing him.
Do we obey God, or follow what’s right with what we know?

What kind of reputation did Jesus have?
The good, outstanding leaders of the community corrected him, “You heal on the Sabbath,” “You eat with sinners.”
He was known as a friend of sinners.
Did that destroy His ministry?
That was His ministry.

What is God telling you to do today?
Maybe it’s not for you to marry a harlot.
Maybe it’s inviting someone for dinner, even when your house is a wreck. Does your house have to be perfect for visitors? Are you embarrassed by the toys on the floor and the unwashed dishes on the counter when that’s what you have to offer? Do your elaborate meals prove your worthiness? Or can you give hot dogs and chips?

After visiting a church for the first time, our family of four was invited for dinner afterward. We walked over toys and ate a simple meal, but I learned a valuable lesson: offer what you have. We remember them, not the dirty floor but the gift they offered when we were new to the community.

I’m not saying, don’t clean or don’t prepare your best, but if you are too tired to enjoy the company because of the perfect house you must show or the elaborate meal you must serve, then whose reputation are you trying to keep? God’s or your own?

I’m probably guiltier than most, when company is coming, I get crabby. The house is dirty. CLEAN IT. You just made another mess. WIPE IT UP.
But I've learned over the years, to let go. The boys clean. I don’t check the bathroom. Maybe I’d be appalled at what passes for clean by the youngest.
Maybe I’ve given up trying to present that spotlessly clean house.
Or maybe I’ve accepted that I will never get there.
But the boys still invite people over and we still enjoy who comes.
Clean? Probably not. Functional? Yes. Well, most of the time. But probably not to someone else’s standards.

What did Jesus value?
Martha slaved over the meal.
Mary sat at His feet.
Whose reputation are we told to remember?
Is your reputation keeping you from doing what God wants you to do?
Is God telling you to look to the souls of those who enter your house, not the dirt that bothers you?



What is God asking you to do that is different from the normal, acceptable thing to do?
 

What a great reminder of what is really important. I think we're all guilty of putting a clean house and a great dinner first, so we need to remember that God does not see as we do. Thanks for reminding us.

Loved what you talked about!!!!! Your writing is amazing

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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