A Good Name, Part 2
II Corinthians 6:3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
Why are good reputations important? Because God uses them, and He has a history of using people who have a good name. The first deacons of the New Testament church were chosen partly because they were men of good reputation:
“Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” (Acts 6:1-4).
The church was able to minister with greater effectiveness because there were people of good reputation who could be trusted to take over some duties that could free others.
In Acts 9, Saul, the church tormenter, is saved and becomes known as Paul. A man named Ananias was chosen by God to explain spiritual truths to Saul, and then brought him to the other disciples, and then brought him to the synagogue to preach.
Here is how Paul describes him in Acts 22:12: “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me….” One reason that Paul was so accepted in the Christian community (considering his former reputation) was the reputation of Ananias.
Another key moment in the history of the early church is similar. In Acts 10, Peter becomes convinced that the gospel was not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. This happened when he broke with religious tradition and went to visit a Gentile named Cornelius, described as “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews….”
Throughout the rest of the New Testament, we have Paul learning of a young man named Timothy, “well spoken of by the brethren” (Acts 16), who became his son in the Lord. Timothy could have been described any number of ways, but the Bible presents his reputation, a fruit of his good character.
In III John, the author compares the evil Diotrephes, who has a bad reputation, with Demetrius, who John says, “has a good testimony from all….”
There are clearly some things that God can trust us with if we have demonstrated enough good character to have a good name and reputation. There are special missions in the kingdom of God, like those described here, that depend on having a good name. Of course, God can use and choose whomever He wants for whatever task He appoints. But it’s clear that He has chosen many possessing a good reputation to do some of the most pivotal work in the early years of the church. May we have the kind of reputation that God could use for His work now.
Prayer: Father, help me to develop the kind of reputation that would allow You to use me for anything. Let me want to be spoken of for Your glory. In the areas where my reputation isn’t what You want, please change me so that it is.
Thanks for this post (both for Part 1 and Part 2). I admit, the “good name” concept is something I struggle with. I too have thought (countless times) that “I don’t care what people think about me”. My feelings reflect the words of Gregory Peck from the movie The Big Country: “I’m not responsible for what people think … only for what I am.” I’ve often feared that if I became overly concerned with my reputation, then I would be a conniver like lead character in the TV show “Keeping Up Appearances”. But then I think about people like Truett Cathy, who often quoted Proverbs 22:1, whose Chick-Fil-A company is a multi-billion dollar brand name. The Bible says “Even a child is known by his actions” (Proverbs 20:11), and “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings” (Proverb 22:29). Please pray for me that I figure this out.