Over the last week we have had a young man attending with us who has just moved here from another area. On Sunday he began to speak with some of us about liking it here and wanting to be involved with the congregation. This morning I called the congregation this, to all appearances, kind and considerate young man had previously attended. I wanted to let them know that he had been attending with us and hoped to find out a little more about him.
When I spoke to the preacher at that congregation this morning, the moment he heard the name, he knew about whom I was speaking. He quickly and happily began to tell me about this young man: how he had grown up in that congregation, was there every time the doors were open, was a young man of great character and was a hard worker in the congregation. The preacher immediately affirmed he could give the young man a ringing endorsement, and such he most assuredly did.
In the Scriptures we read of others, such as the apostle Paul, who was willing and able to give glowing endorsements of those who worked with him and had earned his trust. He speaks of two such men in Philippians 2:19-25 when he writes: “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.”
If your preacher was asked to describe you and give his recommendation concerning you, what would he say? Would he be able to readily acknowledge who you are and what you have been doing among God’s people? Would he be able to state that you were dependable in your presence and service, or that one could never know when you might arrive? Would he be able to vouch for your character, or have you lived in such a way that your character is questionable? Could he describe you as a hard worker in the kingdom, or would he have to say that he has rarely, if ever, seen or heard of you being active in working for the Lord?
We recognize that we live our lives to serve the Lord, not to receive the accolades of men. However, it is also true that as we serve God, the things we do and say become our reputation both inside of the church and in the community: as is seen in the lives of such men as Stephen (Acts 6) and Barnabas (Acts 4, 11). Therefore, we must make sure our light shines before men in a way that brings glory to God (Mat. 5:16).