Slideshow image

Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. - Proverbs 22:1 
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born. - Ecclesiastes 7:1 

I am not sure I agree with the statement: “Reputation Is Everything”. It may not be everything, but it is important, important enough to write about, think about, live for and die for.  
This week has been a tough one for Bridges Church. We lost two amazing people, one of our founding elders, Roy Seymour, and a wonderful lady, Evelyn Manderville. Both had lived long lives and both loved the Lord. Both will be missed by their loved ones. Both left behind a legacy and both had built strong reputations. Both are now with their Lord and Savior whom they loved dearly. Both set great examples. Both lived well lived lives.  
Last week also brought the passing of Olivia Newton John. There were a lot of articles about her life including her work for cancer research and other charities. It was as much about her character as her music. I met her once in a store on Melrose Avenue, and we had a pleasant conversation. Nothing important, but I felt she was very genuine and down to earth, and it felt like no big deal. She was just herself. There has been nothing but good things said about her. She had a good reputation from all accounts.  
Today as I am writing this, it was announced that Nicole Hazen, wife of Arizona Diamondbacks GM, died of cancer. She was a mother of 4 young boys, and while I did not know her, I was moved by what was said of her by others. She was a good mother, a person of kindness and generosity, loved by many, a person of character. She had a good reputation. She left behind stories I may never know, but those who loved her will remember and repeat them. That will be her legacy.  
Weeks like this make you stop and think. It’s a lot to process. There’s the mourning and grief. There’s the gratefulness for having known such people, and the blessings of their lives. There’s the sadness of missing them and there are the lessons from their lives. There are times we spend with others telling old stories and bringing up memories and just being quiet and feeling numb, but then we slowly drift back into life and continue on the journey in front of us, and the stories remain.  
The Bible says that a good reputation is better than money or silver or gold or rich perfume. We think about things like reputation and legacy at times like this. We think about the stories of our lives and how they intersected with those who passed. We think of what others may say about us when it is our time.  
A reputation is built day by day, decision by decision, action by action, word by word. We write our own eulogies by our lives; someone else may read or speak them for us, but we write them. We are the writers of the stories of our lives.  
The words of our eulogies and the stories of our lives are what we leave for others. They can be a gift if they are stories of kindness and goodness, generosity and love, sacrifice and thoughtfulness. Integrity and truth are a part of it. Faithfulness over the long haul. Courage and grace in the face of danger and hardship. A strong character. Keeping our word. Following through. Priorities in the right order.  
Reputation and testimony are intertwined for those who follow Jesus. Did they see Jesus in us? Did we love others with His love? Did we live for Him? Did we treat people the way we wanted to be treated? Did we love others like we love ourselves? Did we grow and mature and learn from our mistakes? Did we worship Him with our lives? Did we serve Him with our hearts? Did we love Him with everything we have and are?  
It’s never too early to think about our reputation, to see our actions and words as a river that flows from our everyday lives. It’s not one thing; it’s everything. But one thing can ruin a reputation and it takes a long time to build it back through the grace of God.  
Today, you will add to your reputation. Today, you will make choices to add onto what you have already done. Today, you will take another step toward building a life well lived.  
To move forward, take a minute and think of your reputation, think of what you want your story to be, and take a step…  
We will miss you Roy and Evelyn, and we look forward to seeing you again when the time comes.