The story is told of a man named Odd. His name followed him around town and he was teased by all the folk: “What an odd boy! What an oddball! You’re of odd sorts today, aren’t you? Who’s the odd one out?” Bogged down and frustrated, one day he declared, “I’ve had it! When I’m dead, I don’t want my name on the tombstone! You can just write my profession, ‘Here lies an honest lawyer.’” One day he did die, and that’s what was put, and as everyone walked through the cemetery, they read the stone, ‘Here lies an honest lawyer,’ and they remarked, “My, that’s Odd.” There is an important lesson in this: your reputation will follow you.
The reputation that sticks to you today and will follow you after you die is the one you are building right now. With every action you take and word you speak, you are writing the book of your life and that is how you are known, both today and after you are gone. What is your reputation? What do people say about you?
Jesus instructed His disciples about how to live and how to be known in Luke 6:43-49. He spoke of bearing fruit and building foundation. “Trees are known by their fruit, and figs are not gathered from thorn-bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.” “When you build your house, dig deep and lay foundation on the rock. When the stream overflows and floods arise, the house will not shake; it is well built.” We are to pattern our lives after Jesus, walking the talk and living the life, obeying Him in all we do day-in and day-out, bearing good fruit and building on a good foundation. This is who you are, this is your reputation.
In the end, your reputation is a heart issue; your actions and words flow out of what’s inside your heart. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” It is the Lord who performs “heart surgery” on a person, as He grows, transforms, and conforms you for His good pleasure, purposes, and glory. How is God working on your heart? What fruit and foundation do you have to show? How is your reputation?