May 6, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 1-6 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry Church, Los Angeles.  Charles, a graduate of UC Riverside and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, and they have three children: Chloe, Noah, and Camden.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

2 Corinthians 8:16-18

But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.

When meeting new people, every now and then, I hear people say to me, “Your reputation precedes you.” My usual reply—which I assume is the same for many— is something in the same vein as, “I hope it’s not alI bad,” or, “Don’t believe everything people say.” I know that the speaker basically means that he or she has previously heard about me from other people, who have made a judgment about me and passed it along to others. Whether fair or not, what others have said about you has essentially defined you—at least up to that very moment.

Paul speaks about a person in our passage who appears to have his reputation precede him. He tells the Corinthians that he is sending Titus, and ‘with him a brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel” (v. 18). Who is this mysterious brother? There are many things we do not know about him, but many have conjectured that it might be Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, or even one of the entourage mentioned in Acts 20:4 (Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Tychicus, Trophimus, or Gaius). Still, there is just no way of truly knowing his identity, nor should we read too much into the anonymity of the person.

Yet what we do know about this individual is that he had a reputation that preceded him. He was known for his love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He may have been a powerful preacher, maybe a particularly gifted and effective communicator. But either way, Paul appears to reference the brother’s reputation as a way of commending himself and his work to the Corinthians, and thereby reassuring the church that his plans to collect money from the Corinthians for the famine stricken Judean Christians was honorable.

The truth is, knowingly or unknowingly, we are always building a reputation. At times, it’s a reputation we may not deserve, for good or bad. And we can’t always control what others are saying about us or thinking about us. But what we can control is our actions and our words. We can communicate what we truly love and what we are definitely “into.” If we are constantly communicating how much we love the gospel of Jesus and we live out its implications in the community, we will begin to have a reputation that will precede us.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the many ways You love me. Help me to live my life so that your gospel may be known. May I live in such a way to bring honor to the message I am called to bear. I need Your Holy Spirit to enable me, for apart from You I can’t do nothing.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Colossians 2

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