Even a child is known by his doings… Proverbs 20:11
Everyone is known for something. A physical attribute. A personality trait. A character element. A power. A weakness. A quirkiness. A good or bad deed. When someone you know is mentioned in conversation, you might think or say, “Oh, he’s that guy/girl who…”
Well, I notice quirkiness, repeated behavior and verbal recurrences. And I tend to label others by this trait or behavior. For instance, every time I see the actor Robert Redford on the screen, I already know that he is going to do a “double take”—or several. (Double take means a “delayed reaction to a surprising or significant situation after an initial failure to notice anything unusual.”)
Redford is notorious, at least in my book, for his repeated, but endearing, reaction to a character or line of dialogue. In his movie Sneakers—my all-time favorite film—I’ve counted eleven double takes. There may be more, but no matter. That’s what I think of when I see him.
Have you ever wondered what you’re known for?
Some of our Bible heroes were known for what they did, not necessarily for who they were. For instance, Moses had a temper. It drove him to kill an Egyptian soldier and then hide his body in the sand. Later, Moses was angry with the nomadic Israelites when they complained (which was often) about their lack of water. God had given Moses the command to speak to a rock and water would come out. Once before, Moses had struck a rock for water, but this time the instructions were different. He was to speak to the rock. Moses, in a rage, struck the rock. Yes, water did come out, but God held that against him for the rest of his life.
Moses isn’t known for his displays of temper, however. He’s best known for receiving the Ten Commandments and leading his people out of Egyptian slavery. Known not for his flaws, but for his moments of obedience.
Noah, that guy who built an ark, was a heavy drinker. Jacob, the one who started the Israelite nation with his 12 sons, was a deceiver. David, the man after God’s own heart, was an adulterer and a murderer. Elijah was a pouter, but he kept his people from being corrupted by false gods.
Maybe I’m pushing it too much to mention Robert Redford and Moses on the same page, but still it brings up the question—what are you known for—your physical quirks, your failures and weaknesses, or your moments of obedience? It’s something to think about and something you may not know for sure. Others may perceive you differently than you see yourself. You may evaluate who you are by what you’ve done in the past. Others may revere you for overcoming a checkered past. You may see yourself as a hero for something you’ve done, but others may see you as being arrogant and boastful about one action.
It’s interesting that Jesus asked His disciples what others were saying about Him, like He didn’t already know. Their response was that some of the people thought Jesus was the reappearance of a dead prophet or matriarch. Then surprisingly, He asked them what they thought of Him. Peter answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Well, the disciple’s answer was correct, but it didn’t keep him or the others from distancing themselves from Him when times got tough. Peter denied. Thomas doubted. Judas betrayed.
Now three things come to mind:
1) Be careful that your actions reflect who you truly are.
2) Don’t judge someone else by one isolated deed. Remember Paul persecuted Christians and then became one of the most dedicated and revered believers in history.
3) Don’t let someone else’s opinion become your reality. Remember God sees you differently.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12)”…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…(Romans 8:17).