The rumors about me.
A few years ago someone approached me with an opportunity to make thousands of dollars. It was easy. It was simple. It was highly illegal.
The reason they approached me was that they, like anyone else in my world, knew that I didn't have high morals. They would not have labeled me Christian or even "honest" at the time. So they knew that they were not running a risk by trying to engage me in a scheme. They were simply sharing a shady idea between two shady people.
Fast forward to present day. A new woman at work recently scheduled a meeting with me. I sat down inside the conference room and asked her what was going on. Her response?
"Rumors say that you're a christian. I'm a christian too and since I'm new I wanted to meet you."
That might happen to you all the time. Your good name might be a neon beacon to all those around you, but sadly enough, that was the first time I have ever experienced something like that. Sure, I've had people say, "rumors say you're a cocky jerk" or "rumors say you're difficult to work with." But not until I was 32 did the rumors take on a positive feel.
I thought about this reality while reading Galations last night. In Chapter 1 Paul gives us his tagline, his version of Nike's "Just Do It" or GE's "We bring good things to life." This is the summation of his ministry. This in some ways is the very core of his life concentrated in a single sentence. This is who the rumors said Paul was:
"The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
I love the simplicity and power and beauty of that. I love that the sin of his former life amplifies the truth of his new life. Do you see that? That sentence is like a sin sandwich. It starts with him persecuting and ends with him trying to destroy. What he used to do is critical in creating a powerful context for what he is currently doing. Can you begin to feel what that means for the sin in your past? I love the hope that offers you and me.
You see, we all have sentences like that. Regardless of whether we are deliberate and do our best to write what people will say about us through our actions or simply float through life without giving it a second thought, we are all tagged with sentences like that.
My question to you is, what does your sentence say right now? If I asked you to write your "Just do it," the idea that summarized your entire life, what would you write? What are the people that know you saying about you?
I thought for a minute and I know what I would like people to say about me:
"Having returned from the dead, Jon cannot help but shout the joy of life."
I don't live everyday that way. It's a work in progress, but that's where I am headed. That is how I balance my time and make my decisions. I intentionally choose things that will bring me closer to that reality and deny things that will take me further from it. I succeed at this sometimes, I fail as this sometimes. But I am working on it.
What are you working on?
What do the rumors about you say?