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May 25 – What’s Your Reputation?

“Where’s the beef?” If the first thing you thought of was a Wendy’s burger, you’ve been influenced by advertising – or “branding” as they call it today. I’m going to give you a few commercial slogans and see how well you do on guessing the companies. “We bring good things to life.” Anybody know that one? Anybody sing that one after you read it? Who wants you to “Be all that you can be.”? Who tries harder? Who puts you in good hands? And last but not least: “Things go better with…” what? The answers, if you didn’t get them, are GE, The US Army, Avis, Allstate, and, finally, Coke.

Companies create these advertising slogans hoping that they’ll catch on and be recognizable for years. It’s a small part of building up their reputation. Companies build their reputation a step at a time building a customer base so that they can have a long period of profitability. Reputations are important in business, and they are important for Christians and churches also. Paul was hoping to go to Rome. The book of Romans is unique to Paul’s letters in two ways: 1) he hadn’t visited them; and 2) there doesn’t seem to be a pressing problem. What did he know about the Roman church? What was its reputation? “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” (Romans 1:9)

in the ancient world, all roads did lead to Rome. The gospel made it to Rome before Paul because Christians traveled for business. Some soldiers became followers of Christ and returned to Rome. Those who followed Jesus couldn’t stay quiet about their faith. A church grew in Rome. Paul noted the reputation of the church: their faith was being reported around the world. In other words, if people happened to talk about the church at Rome, their strong faith was mentioned. If someone was getting ready to visit Rome, they might be told to find out about that church. It probably was a reputation that spread mainly among the churches – but if people talked about the church in Rome, they talked about their faith. That’s a good reputation to have.

Christians and churches build good reputations over a long period of time and service to the community. A few Christians and a few churches have discovered how easy it is to lose that reputation. I won’t mention them by name, but you can think of some Christians who disgraced themselves at the height of fame by some notorious sin. You can think of churches that have established the reputation that causes you to say immediately, “I would never go there.” When we think of those examples, though, they should remind us of how difficult it is to maintain a reputation for being a person of God, or the people of God, in a world that lives on spreading gossip and dirt. We have to build our reputation as followers of Christ, as people of faith one small step at a time and we maintain that reputation by staying true to the faith we have received. Do people think of your faith when they think of you, or are you known for something else? When people think about your church, do they see it as a loving community of faith serving the local area, or do they see it as a building whose doors are heard to be through? Build your reputation in Christ by loving and serving others in faithfulness to God’s call and you’ll never spoil your reputation.

Oh Lord, keep me safe in Your love. Help me to stay true to the faith in my words and in my deeds. Let me bring honor to Your reputation in all that I do.


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