Reputations can be menacing. We have a desired reputation that we would love to have, and then there can be the frustrating reality. Like integrity, there is no shortcut to a good reputation. We develop what we are most known for over time in the small, inconsequential choices and actions. It can also be the flash of weakness that overshadows all the other hours of hard work.
1 Chronicles 2:7
“And the sons of Carmi; Achan, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.”
While we don’t know much about Achan before his day of fame, that could also prove he was a great guy who lived under the radar. Here are some assumptions:
- He was a hard worker who provided a good life for his family.
- He loved his wife.
- He was faithful in his tabernacle attendance.
- He volunteered at the local homeless shelter.
- He visited his parents each weekend.
While these are guesses, one thing is for sure, his mugshot was not plastered on the Most Wanted posters at the post office. He blended in as an average guy trying to get through life.
Then one day, without warning, Achan came face to face with his defining moment. After a well-earned military triumph, Achan noticed some gold and a set of expensive designer clothes sitting unattended. His conscience was in overdrive but his lust for more overpowered his reasoning. He justified himself with the same reasoning we do:
“What difference will it make?”
“It’s not a deal breaker.”
“No one will really know anyway”
“It can help pay off our family debt and I can finally take my family on a vacation”
His sinful heart conquered his conscience and he did the unthinkable. He stole what God clearly announced to be off limits.
What Achan did in a matter of minutes overshadowed a lifetime of hard work and good choices. What seemed to be no big deal now defined his legacy.
“sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
The consequences of Achan’s choices were far greater than he ever imagined. God forever labeled him as “the troubler of Israel” He was quick to learn that “sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” His moment of succumbing to temptation now became his eternal memory.
If Achan could have one “redo” in life, he would give his right arm to redeem himself. We can understand that. We all have said or done something that we would empty our bank account to retract. A good reputation that can take a lifetime to build, can also disintegrate in a moment of weakness. The work of building a good reputation allows for no vacations. We cannot get sleepy or distracted. We must commit ourselves to the grueling process of being consistent in doing what is right. Even when the choice seems insignificant. It’s time to get back to the hard work of “enduring temptation”.