Reputation: Lost and Found

Michael Beck

“Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel … But now they that are younger than I have me in derision …” (Job 29:21, 30:1)

There was a day when men wanted to listen to what Job had to say. But after calamity befell him, no one cared to listen. Why was this? If his supposedly wise friends believed his image was tarnished by his tragedy, how much more would he lose gravity in the sight of those less wise?

It is a painful thing to lose the esteem of others. Such is communicated by a “going away.” Jesus experienced it after He spoke of His body being food and His blood being drink. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?” (John 6:60,61) The words Jesus spoke had indeed caused an offense. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” (John 6:66,67)

God tries our heart in the day when men “go away” from us for whatever reason they have.

When tragedy struck, Job lost more than his family, his health, and his business – he lost his reputation. He became offensive. He was blamed for his misfortune. Surely, he could not be right with God and have such things happen to him. Likewise, Jesus was deemed accursed and smitten of God as He hung on the cross. (Isa. 53:4) But Job was not a paragon of patience as he wore the stigma of a transgressor. He laid into his “friends” on more than one occasion for their false assumptions and accusations. In the end, God had to straighten them out, because the more the man protested the guiltier he became in their eyes.

Jesus though endured grief, suffering wrongfully, and He took it patiently. (1 Pet. 2:19,20) He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and He opened not His mouth. (Isa. 53:7) When He was reviled, He did not revile in return. (1 Pet. 2:23) He blessed those who cursed Him; and made intercession for those who counted Him a transgressor. He committed Himself to the One who knew Him better than any man and judges correctly.

God tries our heart in the day when men “go away” from us for whatever reason they have. He asks: “Does this matter to you? Do you need their validation, or is My approval enough for you?” Job ultimately broke through to a single care for what God thought about him. “Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” (Job 16:19) Jesus went from being wildly popular with the masses to being “despised and rejected of men.” But He also took great comfort in knowing that He was known in heaven.

Despise the shame of a lost reputation on earth, if it remains intact in heaven.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.