Summary: A call for believers to be people who have positive reputations in the community.

Spreading the Gospel through a Positive Reputation

Various Scriptures

Friday, March 9, 2007

SD Gideons State Convention

This is going to be a tough message at times. This has been on my heart for quite a while, and I think that the Gideons are in a position to impact this concern of mine and turn the tide of all this.

I’d love to just give you a fluffy “Jesus loves you and isn’t life wonderful” kind of message.

And while it’s true that Jesus loves you (and isn’t that good news?), and that life in Christ is wonderful, even in the midst of hardship, the fact of the matter is that we live in a world that, by and large, doesn’t recognize Jesus and won’t, except through people like yourselves who are willing to take the gospel to the workplace and your areas of influence.

And that is the setting of where I want to go with this. I hope that you will share my concern, but more than that, I hope you will share my confidence that through the Spirit of God and the Word of God, the tide can be changed for the glory of God and the advancement of Jesus’ kingdom.

Waaaaay back in the old days when I worked as a cook and waiter at Pizza Hut, there were times when a Christian family would come into the restaurant, and I tried to make it a point to have them seated in my section so I could wait on them.

But it wasn’t because they were good tippers or anything like that.

Actually, the reason I wanted to wait on them was because I didn’t want one of the other servers being subjected to the rudeness and meanness of these people.

They were demanding and impatient, and were lousy tippers.

They probably went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. They probably could quote a bunch of Scripture, and maybe even pray with anyone who wanted them to. They could probably share the plan of salvation with the best of them.

But can you guess what would happen if they had tried to share the gospel with those other servers who had to put up with them at the restaurant?

“Why would I want to accept Jesus? So I can be like you? No thanks!”

These people had absolutely no credibility at that place, and my guess is that they had little to none with just about anybody outside of their church.

I wish I could tell you that it was only one family. But unfortunately, it was more than one.

On the other hand, there were other Christian families who were a joy to serve.

They were friendly to the servers, ordered what was on the menu instead of demanding things we didn’t have, and were generally good tippers, which was the reason, I wanted to wait on them, of course…

Can’t let someone who needs to hear about Jesus get to them…

My guess is that I’m not the only one who has witnessed this type of behavior from people who call themselves Christians.

And you know, it’s not only at restaurants. The idea here is that there are people who call themselves Christians but who exhibit decidedly un-Christlike behavior, especially in public.

They worship on Sunday, but on Monday, they’re ready to take advantage of unsuspecting customers by over-charging them or doing work that wasn’t authorized.

They go to prayer meeting on Tuesday and withhold payment for an invoice on Wednesday, making the vendor wait longer than the terms for the deal because they think it’s no big deal to pay bills on time when they’re able.

They go to Bible study on Wednesday, and complain about their pastor on Thursday.

And dare I say – they go to their monthly camp meeting on Thursday and treat their employees like dirt on Friday.

Can we be frank here?

These are just a few examples of the type of thing that goes on in the real world that we all live in.

I saw it before I became a pastor and I still see it today in the workplace.

I could spend a lot of time harping on the negative examples I’ve seen over the years. But that’s not my purpose today.

But what a joy it is to see God’s people act like mature adults who love Jesus and love people. It shows in all they do, and it opens the doors wide for opportunities to share the gospel with people.

My guess is that we all know people like that, don’t we?

They’re successful in business or their jobs because not only do they work hard, but they honestly care about the people around them, whether they be customers, co-workers, employees, the community, or whatever.

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