Visitors to a zoo were outraged when the “African lion” started barking instead of roaring. Zoo staff said they had disguised a Tibetan mastiff—a very large dog—as a lion because they could not afford the real thing. Needless to say, the zoo’s reputation was sullied and people will think twice before visiting it.
Reputation is fragile; once it’s damaged, it’s hard to restore. It is not uncommon to sacrifice a good reputation on the altar of power, prestige, or profit. This too could be our story. Scripture encourages us: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). God is telling us that true value must be placed not in what we have but in who we are.
Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” As followers of Jesus, we bear His name. Because of His love for us, we strive to walk worthy of Him, reflecting His likeness in our words and deeds.
When we fail, He picks us up again by His love. By our example, others around us will be led to praise the God who has redeemed and transformed us (Matt. 5:16)—for the name of the Lord is worthy of glory, honor, and all praise.
Lord, I do want to walk worthy of Your name because You have made me Your own. I know I can’t live perfectly, but I want to reflect to others a little of who You are. Please show Yourself through me.
The purest treasure mortal times afford is a spotless reputation. —Shakespeare
The book of Proverbs is made up of several collections of wise sayings, with the majority coming from the pen of wise King Solomon. Solomon’s proverbs of wisdom are contained in 1:8–22:16, which are then followed by the sayings of other wise men in 22:17–24:34. More of Solomon’s wisdom, written down by Hezekiah’s men, is found in chapters 25–29. The book of wisdom closes with Agur’s wise sayings in chapter 30 and Lemuel’s words in chapter 31. All of this combines to make the book of Proverbs a comprehensive collection of the wisdom of ancient Israel.
The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse can fly day and night without fuel. Inventors Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg hope to fly it around the world in 2015. While the plane flies all day by solar power, it gathers enough energy to be able to fly all night. When the sun rises, Piccard says, “It brings the hope again that you can continue.”
The idea of sunrise bringing us hope makes me think of Lamentations 3 from our Bible reading for today: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning” (vv.21-23). Even when God’s people were in the depths of despair while the city of Jerusalem was being invaded by the Babylonians, the prophet Jeremiah said they had reason to hope—they still had the Lord’s mercies and compassions.
Sometimes our struggles seem worse at night, but when sunrise comes it brings hope again that we can continue. “Weeping may endure for a night,” the psalmist says, “but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).
Thank You, Lord, for the hope You send with each sunrise. Your mercies and compassions are new every morning!
New mercies every morning, Grace for every day, New hope for every trial, And courage all the way. —McVeigh
Each new day gives us new reasons to praise the Lord.
For 2 years the Babylonians lay siege to Jerusalem. Conditions within the besieged city were desperate and deplorable. Starvation during the siege even led to cannibalism (2 Kings 25:1-4; Lam. 2:20; 4:10). Sadly, Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of the city and temple (Jer. 52:12-27). In five emotionally charged dirges, or funeral laments (one for each chapter of Lamentations), he described the sufferings of the people and the reasons for their suffering. But he also wrote of hope in the midst of despair (Lam. 3:21-32) and of restoration that would come (5:19-22).
Traffic was bad and everyone was cranky on that hot afternoon. I noticed a car with two young men waiting to enter traffic from a fast-food restaurant driveway. I thought it was nice when the driver ahead of me let them in.
But when the “nice” driver ahead of me didn’t get a nod or even a thank you wave, he turned ugly. First he rolled down his window and shouted at the driver he had let in. Then he gunned his engine and raced forward as if to ram into his car, honking and yelling as he continued to vent his anger.
Who was “more wrong”? Did the young driver’s ingratitude justify the “nice” driver’s angry response? Was he owed a thank you?
Certainly the 10 lepers Jesus healed owed gratitude to Him. How could only one return to say thank you? I’m struck by Jesus’ response: “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18). If the King of Kings can get only a 1 in 10 response of thanks, how can we expect more from others? Better to do our deeds to honor God and serve others than to do them to collect gratitude. May the grace of God be seen in us even when our kind acts go unappreciated.
Lord, we like to be recognized for the things we do. Help us to remember that we are not owed any recognition or thanks but that we owe You a lifetime of gratitude for the salvation You offer through Jesus.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may . . . glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16
As the 10 men in today’s reading went away to follow Jesus’ instructions, “they were cleansed” (v.14); that is, healed of their leprosy. Yet verse 19 says that only one man, the Samaritan, glorified God for his healing and came back to say thank you. Only he received Jesus’ word that his faith had made him well. The Greek word for “made well” is used in reference to salvation. Jesus’ miraculous power made the man well physically (v.14). But the Samaritan’s faith, demonstrated in praise and gratitude, led to his spiritual healing (v.19). All 10 were “cleansed,” but only one was “made well.”