Monthly Archives: March 2013

Loyalty + Kindness = Good Reputation (Proverbs 3)

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! … Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor … and earn a good reputation.” Proverbs 3:3-4

Coach John Wooden said, “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a second to lose it.” I love John Wooden. His wisdom is legendary. He has delivered many a “wall hanger” when it comes to quotes. This is another one. I have personally used it dozens of times as a coach and parent.

Coach Wooden was absolutely right; well, almost absolutely.

Rarely does a single instantaneous decision lead to utter ruin of reputation, of finances, of relationships, of life. Almost always a series of decisions led to the final decision which destroys a reputation or any of the other things.

An upstanding businessperson rarely goes from trustworthy accounting practices to embezzling funds or robbing from shareholders in a day. A happily married woman rarely leaves the house one day and ends up in the arms of another man moments later. A vivacious, engaged young person rarely decides in an instant that life is no longer worth living and makes a one last fatal decision.

Given that reality one could actually say, “It takes daily decisions to be loyal and kind over a lifetime build a good reputation…”

If you want to be respected and build influence, choose daily to find ways to share loyalty and kindness. We control whether we are building or destroying our reputation. We exercise that control through our decisions.

What is one choice toward loyalty and kindness you can make today that will change your trajectory in the area of building your  reputation?


One Decision, Amazing Results (Proverbs 2)

“My child, listen to what I say…” Proverbs 2:1

 As a parent of three little girls (7, 5, almost 3) listening is a pivotal activity. When I truly listen to my girls I hear amazing things flowing out of their hearts of innocence and minds of wonder. When they listen to me they learn new skills, are protected from danger and stretch their understanding of what is possible.

As a husband when I listen to my wife about the schedule for the day or the errands I need run before I come home from work, our home functions more smoothly. When I listen to her posture, her face, her eyes, I hear the meaning in her words and our hearts are connected.

As a child of God when I listen to what He says I will:

  • gain knowledge of Him
  • understand an appropriate awe of Him
  • receive wisdom
  • understand what is right, just and fair
  • find the right way to go
  • be filled with joy
  • learn discernment in relationships
  • guard my heart

The choice to listen is a choice to live a life full of meaningful relationships. How can you listen better today, in the next hour? How will that choice change the trajectory of your day?

Fools Despise Wisdom and Discipline… (Proverbs 1)

“…fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7b

I struggle with living a disciplined life, organized by healthy, productive habits. It seems so much easier (and more romantic) to play life by ear encountering each day as it comes.

At the same time, I desire to be wise. I want to be someone who makes decisions that powerfully impact the present and the future.

You can’t be the latter (wise) without the former (discipline). This truth bothers me.

Why does it bother me?

The answer to that question lies in this verse’s introductory phrase.

“Fear (deep respect) of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7a

Knowledge of truth that leads to wisdom comes only from the Lord and is acquired only through maintaining a deep respect for Him. Respect requires humility. Humility is an unnatural human quality. Humility comes only through effectively managing pride. The management of pride requires discipline.

Free of disciplined management, pride thinks for us. Pride seethes in the presence of instruction. Pride mocks thoughts of selflessness and sacrifice. It encourages standing our ground, uncompromisingly holding positions for the sake of being right. Pride lords over compassion and pursues isolation in the guise of personal freedom.  Pride makes us fools.

So, does a fool set out to despise wisdom and discipline? No.

A fool comes to despise wisdom and discipline because pride short circuits their decision making process. They choose self over surrender. They choose ease over discipline. They choose lies (I know…) over truth (The Lord knows…).

My choice to live an undisciplined (unstructured) life doesn’t make me “king of my castle”, free to do what I want when I want. It makes me a “fool to my pride” bound by my ever-changing focus and whims. I end up treading water endlessly, climbing the same hills repeatedly, and not getting where I want to go. As I look around, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Which of your choices today indicate signs of foolishness, despising wisdom and/or discipline?