Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals from Nov. 3-9 are written by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church (S. F.).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” 11 But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.
Back in the late-1990s, it was revealed that President Bill Clinton was having an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was eventually impeached and then acquitted, not for the affair itself, but rather for lying about it. Eventually, the biggest question that came out of this whole scandal was, “Does the American public care what the president does in his personal life, as long he is running our country efficiently?” By in-large, most Americans answered that question with a “no”; and Clinton’s term in office has generally been regarded as a success.
Having said all that, I think having a good reputation still matters. While many respect Clinton for the things he accomplished in office, how many of even his staunchest followers would put a lot of stock in any marriage advice he could possibly give? You see, one of the more difficult things about being in ministry (all those in ministry, not just pastors) is maintaining, not just a good reputation, but a reputation that makes your voice matter to others. For example, let’s say you are a small group leader; and while playing golf with a few of your members, you lose your temper and become childishly irritable (breaking clubs, yelling at the ball, crashing the cart, etc.), because you haven’t been able to hit a decent tee shot all day. Do you think you will have the platform to lead these people and speak with them about their anger issues? Same with things like drinking: Would you want to be told to curb your drinking by your small group leader who just went bar-hopping with you two weeks ago? And this applies in the area of giving, honesty and integrity, as well as having daily devotions. In the end, if you want to be an influencer in the kingdom of God, then you have to be careful to make sure your life and words are consistent, keeping an upright and respectable reputation.
At first, you may look at today’s Bible passage, and ask, what’s was the big deal? It appears that the issue involved one of two possible things: First, Nehemiah was not a priest, so he was not allowed in the temple, even to save his own life. Or two, running into the temple would have made Nehemiah look like a coward, especially since everyone working on the wall was, to a certain extent, in danger. Either way, Nehemiah found it more important to risk his own life than to discredit his own name with the people (see 6:13). Today, let me ask you this: What are the things you have to “risk” to keep a good reputation among others? Most of us don’t have to risk our lives like Nehemiah did, but I am guessing that we will have to sacrifice some forms of “fun.” Is it worth to deny yourself in some way for the kingdom of God?
Lord, help me to see the beauty and worth of doing Your work and paying the price in order to keep a good reputation with others. If I have already broken that record, please give me the fortitude to win it back. Ultimately, make me a person of true character—make me more like Jesus.
Bible Reading for Today: Zechariah 12