What Are You Known For?
As we live life to a certain extent, we become known for who we are and what we have become as individuals. Essentially, this can be summed up in one word: reputation. Our reputation, in a bottom line equation, is derived from what we are known for. Shifting back to the Bible, I am drawn to remark on a little passage found in Romans 16:19 that has profound depth to me today as someone who works with churches and ministry organizations.
In finishing his letter to the Romans, Paul says this, “Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Romans 16:19). What surprises me is that he captures the true essence of their reputation as one of obedience. What also surprises me is what he said their reputation was not. Their reputation as a city-wide fellowship was not based on excellent church music, children’s programming, pulpit ministry, or outreach. Instead, he commends the Roman believer’s reputation as true obedience to God.
Once, while in a roundtable discussion in seminary talking about worship and what a church should look for in a worship pastor, the discussion was centered on external qualities. Most in the round table suggested that a church needs a christian rock star, an energizer who can rouse the crowd to expressive enthusiasm for Christ. When I was called on to contribute to the discussion, I stated that worship was obedience – nothing more and nothing less. Therefore, the role of a worship leader is less about musical singing and more about encouraging and teaching life-long, personal and corporate obedience to Christ. After I finished, most nodded their heads in agreement and then further discussed the qualities of a good christian ‘rock’ star.
The hardest thing about obedience is that is not that attractive, it is usually not flashy. But, it is what God loves! Obedience is not attractive to the world – but it is what God searches to and fro throughout the earth to find! When we are known for our obedience, like the Romans Paul was writing to, then those who are our spiritual fathers and mothers can rejoice in us because we are walking in the way of Christ. Then we will be known for our imitation of Christ – the one who perfectly obeyed the Father.