Recently, we were planning a conference, and the person the committee approached to be the speaker was unable to accept. Instead, he gave us the name of another speaker whom he thought would be a wonderful speaker for us. The problem is that we know him only by the recommendation we have received from someone we had also known by reputation. We are still praying for guidance on whether to go with the new recommended speaker or not.
This process reminds me of several realities in the Christian life. One is what an amazing network there is in Christ's body and what a grand array of gifts there are to share with one another. The other is the importance of having a good reputation. Paul, writing to a young man, Timothy, reminded him that when he was picking elders or leaders, they needed to be people of good reputation.
1 Timothy 3:7 – He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. (NIV)
Peter says leaders must be "examples to the flock". (1 Peter 5:3 NIV) Paul, on another occasion, urges Christians: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV)
What is your reputation in your home, at work, and in your church and community? Is it the kind of reputation that would draw people to Christ or be a stumbling block? I remember on one occasion going door to door to invite people in the community to come to church. At one door I visited, the man asked, "Is that the church that my neighbour _________ goes to?" I was pleased he knew his neighbour went to our congregation, and thinking I had a natural connection said, "Oh yes, he's an elder there." The man replied, "Well, if he goes there, then for sure you'll never see me there!"
What's your reputation like? Does it reflect the fruit of Christ's Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, or something else?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to be more like You, so that our reputations may be a drawing card for people to love You and Your Church. Forgive us when we fail, and enable us to make proper restitution, remembering Your promise, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." Amen.