#8 – Good Character Reputation
The eighth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will have character references (a “good report” ~ Acts 10:22; 22:12; Heb. 11:2,39) from both within and without the household of faith, exhibiting the character traits illustrated as for bishops and deacons as expressed in I Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:4-9.
It is common for these passages in Timothy and Titus to be viewed as lists of qualifications for church leaders. But better than seeing them as qualifiers, look at them as descriptors. Paul said, when you’re looking for the elders (as in wiser, older men) whom you can trust to guide you wisely, this is what they’ll look like. It’s not a check-list, per se, where every leader must meet every item and cannot fail to be perfect in any one area (the two lists are not identical, after all), but some areas where good leaders will stand out – in which they will have a “good report,” a good reputation, or a “good name.”
Solomon told us that a good name (a good reputation and respect) is far better than great wealth (Proverbs 22:1) and than precious ointment (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Jesus was known, amongst more than those who followed Him, as one who “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38)
It has been well said that your reputation is what men think you to be, while your character is what God knows you to be. And while there may be times in one’s life when it is important to remember that distinction, that is not to say that one should not worry about his reputation.
So we are looking for men who are known to others to have high character and a demonstrably honorable reputation. If you had to produce a dozen personal references right now who could testify to the goodness and godliness of your character, from people you associate with or who know you both within and without the arena of faith, could you?