January 23, 2007

What Reputation Precedes You?

Man, I've been going through the book of Jonah from the Old Testament lately for a teaching series that I'm doing. This book really has a lot to say to believers today. The question that I get from Jonah 3 is "what reputation precedes you?" If you know the story of Jonah, you know that he was inside a big fish for 3 days before being vomited out & sent on his way to the city of Nineveh. When he got there he finally began preaching the message that God called him to. What was the result? The Ninevites believed. I have to believe that as Jonah's message spread through the city, his reputation did as well. Jonah probably looked pretty weird. After all, he had been sitting inside the belly of a fish for a few days. I find it hard to believe that someone didn't ask Jonah privately about his story. When these people heard Jonah's own story of rebellion, repentance, & restoration, I believe that as much as Jonah's preaching moved them toward repentance. So the question I ask myself & I ask you is "what reputation precedes you?" Jonah's story surely spread throughout Nineveh as well as his preaching message. When he moved through Nineveh preaching his message of judgment & hope, the people knew it was real because Jonah had just lived it. His repentance restored him to his place with God. The people saw that Jonah's life supported the message that he brought. So do our lives support the message that we as believers are trying to communicate? Sometimes I'm afraid that for most of us, we are living double lives. We have a different reputation depending on the group that we're with at the moment. Jonah's story challenges me to make sure that the reputation that precedes me is one that reflects the story of God in my life. I was & occasionally am as rebellious anyone else in this world. The only real difference between me & the most miserable, evil person you can think of is the way God has moved in my life & accepted me in my repentance. So the challenge for you & for me is to make sure our reputations tell that story.

No comments: