Summary: Reputation . . . what people are saying about you . . . have you given consideration to it lately?
What Are They Saying About You?
I. How does one pick a plumber? a mechanic? a carpet-layer? an evangelist? a truck driver? The answer: By referral. What others are saying about that person.
II. Very heavy weights (like people’s respect and confidence) are hung on the thin wire of reputation. (Swindoll) Thomas Dewar wrote, "Nothing deflates so fast as a punctured reputation." There was an interesting incident in the life of Napoleon. A man once approached him and said, "I am very pleased to meet you! You see, my name is the same as yours!" Knowing that the man had a poor reputation and a very bad character, the emperor was greatly incensed. Addressing himself to the worthless fellow, he exclaimed emphatically, "You either live up to your name or change it!"
III. I want to have a reputation similar to Caleb. On three different occasions it was stated by three different persons that Caleb wholly followed the Lord.
IV. Paul came to the region of Galatia where he had previously visited. Some things had changed.
A. He returned with a different partner - Silas rather than Baranabas
B. He had no servant to assist him.
C. Acts 16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him;
1. Timothy had been converted during Paul’s earlier visit.
2. At this time Timothy was about eighteen years of age.
3. "Well spoken of by . . ." the word is literally "witnessed." It was a continuous report from the brothers. They had good things to say about Timothy. Notice "they said" not "he said." Pascal said, "Do you wish men to speak well of you? Then never speak well of yourself."
4. Lystra and Iconium were at least 15 miles apart, yet Timothy was well spoken of by both groups. His influence and reputation had spread. It would have been half a days hard travel between the two communities. An equivalent distance in our time would be 175-200 miles.
D. Like a baseball farm system, future leaders must do well in AA ball if they hope to move up to AAA competition. By watching them in the minors, we can eventually tell whether they have the desire and skills to play major league ball. The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Potential tells little about an individual; past behavior speaks volumes. Observing people over an extended period of time is the best predictor of future fitness for leadership.
E. Paul had the testimony of time in regard to Timothy
V. How does one create and maintain that thing called reputation. A good name is better to be chosen than fine silver, but how does one attain that good name? Some interesting thoughts:
A. Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies. Arabian Proverb
B. conversely, When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. Japanese proverb
C. Four things to do:
1. Let not your good be evil spoken of . . . Protect your proper motives
2. Forsake the appearance of evil. Don’t ever compromise righteousness.
3. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule really does work
4. Consistency in conduct and action (Double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Reuben is as unstable as water, he shall not excel.)
VI. What is your reputation and what can you do about it? One morning in 1888 Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, opened the newspaper only to find an article about his own death. A careless reporter had confused Alfred with his brother who had indeed died. The shock of reading his own obituary was compounded by the realization of how the world saw him. To the general public he was simply the "Dynamite King," a successful industrialist who had amassed a fortune from explosives. There was no mention of his ideal of peace for mankind or his efforts to break down barriers. He would be remembered only for being a "merchant of death."
Alfred determined right then that he wanted to do something to make sure the world would recognize the values to which he had devoted his life. He decided that this could be accomplished by the way he disposed of his vast wealth in his last will and testament. That’s why today we have a prestigious award given to someone who has contributed significantly to the cause of world peace--the Nobel Peace Prize.
As Christians, we ought to be concerned about what the world will remember us for.
VII. What are some things you can do to start correcting your reputation?