Building Good Reputations

In Acts 6, a complaint arose among some of the Greek-speaking Jews because their widows were being neglected. Notice the apostles’ response:

“It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.” (Acts 6:1-3)

“Of good repute.” These men needed to have good reputations. They were expected to have already demonstrated character, humility, honesty, and maturity. If this opportunity were the first time that Stephen, Philip, or any of the others gave serious thought to their reputations, it would already be too late. The past of these men was what had led them to be qualified to serve in the present.

We obviously don’t live in the era of Acts 6, but each one of us–male and female, young and old–is building a reputation, block by block, day by day.

Your reputation is being shaped by how you conduct yourself on social media: what you share, how you comment, what you like.

My reputation is being molded by my treatment of the people around me, my priorities, punctuality, and whether I keep my promises.

Decision-by-decision, reaction-by-reaction, mood-by-mood, post-by-post, encounter-by-encounter, each one of us is building a reputation. That makes the wisdom of Proverbs 22:1 worth chewing on today:

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.

You can’t purchase “good repute” on Amazon. I can’t download a “good name” in any App store. But who knows what future opportunities could be extended to us or doors be closed on us based on the choices we make this week?

Does that sobering reality mean my past will forever define and mar my future? Not in Christ. Those seven men in Acts 6 were also to be “full of the Spirit and of wisdom.” In Jesus, Paul could write about “formerly” being a persecutor (1 Tim 1:13). “Such were some of you” was an accurate description of men and women in Corinth who had been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:9-11).

You’ve heard that old Chinese proverb? “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Just so, the best time to start looking carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Life is connected. Steps form paths and paths produce reputations. As much as depends on us, let’s be men and women “of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” today.