We are not born with a reputation. It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation and only minutes to destroy it. The American billionaire philanthropist and investor Warren Edward Buffett said the following about reputation, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” If you are not careful with your decisions, you could destroy in minutes what took you years to develop.
As pastors and leaders, we should guard our reputations like the government guards its secrets. It is frustrating that every time you bring up a preacher’s name there is always some question about his or her reputation. I know that a reputation is only an opinion about the person, yet most opinions have some degree of fact. Whether the fact is from your past or present does not matter, people will use it to form an opinion of you.
Solomon wrote the following about a reputation in the book of wisdom: “Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.” Proverbs 3:4 (MSG)
According to Solomon, we should earn a reputation for doing what is right in the sight of God and the eyes of the people. If we live right before God, who sees us in our private moments, then those who see us in our public moments are going to see a man or a woman who is living right. Jesus said the following about praying, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father, who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NASB) If you pray in private, God will reward you publicly. This principle applies to every area of your life. “God sees what is done in secret.”
Your secret life will eventually reveal who you really are to the public! Anything you do in private will be exposed in public. If you pray, give, and live right in private, you earn a good reputation. The flip side is, if you don’t pray in private, give privately, or live right in private, then you will earn a bad reputation.
Here is an easy way to check your reputation, if you are married, ask your wife, and ask your children. If you are single, ask your family and those closest to you, people you are accountable to. If you hear the same thing from many people, then there is some truth to what you are hearing.
Pastors and leaders, if your reputation is not what it should be, take the first step to fixing it. Repent and start again. In time, your reputation will become what it should be as a man or woman of God.
How is your reputation?
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