“A reputation is a funny thing,” said Wyatt Earp to a friend in the film Wyatt Earp. It’s as true in sports as it was in the Old West. If you have a reputation among teammates and competitors as being a diva, then that will mark how your ability (or willingness) to contribute to the goals of the team will be assessed. In recent years, this has seemed to especially hold true for wide receivers in the NFL—a position considered by some to have become the “designated diva” spot on the roster. By the same token, if a player works hard in practice and preparation, supports their teammates, and gives their all on the field, they will also have a reputation, but it will be a reputation of honor, integrity, and trustworthiness. It will be the reputation of a player who other players want to have on their team.
For followers of Christ, a reputation is likewise important, but for infinitely more important reasons. Only as we faithfully represent the heart and character of Christ to this world will they have any reason to care about the message we carry of the Savior and His love. This may explain Paul’s challenge to the church at Rome, when he wrote: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).
How we live, what we value, and how we interact with others will have a direct impact on our ability to influence people for the gospel. That is why a good reputation is such a critical issue for believers. It is a reputation that is less about how they will view us and more about how they will view Christ. Without question, this is the value of a good reputation, so “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we discuss this matter of testimony and reputation for Christ.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain