"Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth'" (Genesis 11:4).
During our Bible study at the Normandy Apartments on Sunday evening, we were discussing the account of the tower of Babel. In the historical narrative, the people were driven by their concern about their reputation in the world. They wanted to make a name for themselves. They were obsessed with their reputation. They were driven by their pride.
When considering our reputations, at least two important questions must be asked:
1. What do we want our reputations to be?
2. More importantly, why do we want such reputations? What are our motives?
John Piper offers this insightful analysis:
"Our aim is that people would 'glorify God', not us (Matthew 5:16). On the one hand, we know that reputation matters: 'A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches' (Proverbs 22:1). On the other hand, we know that people-pleasing reveals idolatry: '...not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord' (Colossians 3:22)." (See www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2008/2740_Acclaim_for_Christ_vs_Craving_Praise/ for more of the article.)
Trying to make myself look good corrupts my heart. Trying to make God look as good and holy and just and merciful and gracious as he truly is protects my heart. If that is my goal, I'm not sure that I should be very concerned about my own reputation unless it detracts from an accurate view of my Savior.