By Sherry Black

A Reading from 3 John 1-15 

1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely, how you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; 7 for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. 8Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth.

9 I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12Everyone has testified favourably about Demetrius, and so has the truth itself. We also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; 14 instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face.

15 Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.

Meditation

As a young woman working in a largely male profession, my grandfatherly boss often reminded me to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I’m sure I failed that instruction more than a time or two in my life, but I have also never forgotten his wise words. Reputations matter.

Our reputations precede us, accompany us, and follow us; our reputations are what others think of us based on who they perceive us to be, and, no matter what, we all have (at least) one!

In this shortest book in the Bible, we are introduced to several men. First is Gaius. Gaius has a great reputation! His friends testified to his faithfulness; he walks in the truth. His friends vouched for his love of the Church, and John invited him to be a co-worker with him, with the truth.

On the other hand, there is Diotrephes who is arrogant and immodest, spreading false charges against John and his team. Diotrephes does not display hospitality, an important virtue in the community. His reputation is not one to be emulated.

People, and truth, and John himself testified positively about Demetrius.

And finally, of course, there is John himself, with his servant’s heart. As pastor, he longs to see his friends and co-laborers in the kingdom. He encourages those who have good reputations and is not hesitant to call out those who seem to be working in opposition to the gospel. John has established an excellent reputation for being a personal and caring father to his disciples.

Yes, reputations matter.

“Peace to you. The friends send their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.”

The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

St. Martin’s by the Lake Episcopal Church, Minnetonka Beach, Minn.
The Diocese of Brandon (Anglican Church of Canada)