Monday, August 13, 2018
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, …whatever is noble…think about such things.
What kind of reputation do you have? When people speak of you, are they saying kind things?
The reputation we have is established by the consistency of our behavior. On the negative side, if we consistently lie, we will be known as a liar. If we consistently cheat, we will be known as a cheater. If we consistently steal…well, you get the point. But on the positive side, if we consistently serve others we will be known as a servant. If we consistently give to others we will be known as generous. And if we consistently do things honestly, we will be called honorable.
In Philippians 4:8 Paul says that we need to live our lives in such a way that it clearly demonstrates that we are thinking about noble things. The Greek word for noble means honorable, and is derived from another Greek word that means to revere. Our lives are to be lived with such honor that we are revered by others.
Recently I heard a true story that illustrates the need for Christians to do all things with honor. The story is about a man and a woman who have finalized their divorce and the settlement has been reached. The woman is very active in her church and claims to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Her former husband had a business associate who had stored some of his equipment in the husband’s machine shed. When the business associate called the woman to claim his equipment, he was told that she had been awarded his items in the divorce settlement. When he asked her if she knew they were his, she said yes, but that they had chosen not to declare them so they were awarded to her. When he asked her if she would return them, she said no. She is keeping the equipment even though she knows it belongs to him.
How can a true follower of Jesus Christ behave so dishonorably? It is so unlike the example of Paul. In 2 Corinthians 8:16 – 21 Paul tells us another story about a follower of Jesus Christ – a man named Titus. Here it is:
But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.
Here’s the background to the story: the church at Corinth has a huge offering they want Paul to deliver to the needy people in Jerusalem and to other churches. Titus, Paul’s pastoral trainee, has agreed to go to Corinth and pick up the offering. He is taking with him a fellow pastor who is a famous preacher. He is not named, but we soon discover his reputation. Paul did not want anyone to question his integrity, so he selected a man that had an honorable reputation to handle the finances. All the other churches agreed that this man is so honorable that they trusted him to carry the money and make sure it was used for its intended purpose.
That’s the kind of reputation each of us should desire, and it is only achieved through the consistent practice of honesty.
But why don’t we know the man’s name? I think there are two reasons:
- A person should be known first by their character and not by their name.
- Paul is emphasizing the characteristic of honor by using Titus as the main character in the story because the name Titus means honorable.
Titus was fortunate to have a name that reflected his character. Paul wanted everyone for all time to know the other pastor by his character as well. The question we must ask is this: when people hear your name, what kind of character do they think of?
We all want to make a name for ourselves – let’s just make sure it’s an honest and honorable one.