A Reputation To Die For

In the story of the Good Samaritan there is something that I think we have missed and that is the reputation of the Samaritan. It strikes me as odd that the innkeeper was so willing to put the expenses for the injured man on the tab of the Samaritan based on his word. Perhaps it was actually based on the Samaritan’s reputation. Isn’t that interesting that this innkeeper just took this man at his word. I realize that was a different culture where a person’s word meant a whole lot more, but the word of a traveling Samaritan in a Jewish region must have needed a little more backing. Perhaps he had been this way before, perhaps people knew him as a man of his word, a man who was trustworthy.

Maybe Jesus was trying to make that point that good deeds don’t happen in a bubble, they are a way of life. Maybe he was trying to point out that it was a no-brainer for the Samaritan to meet a need simply because it was the right thing to do. He lived a lifestyle that looked out for the needs of others. It is more than who are neighbor is, it’s how we live our lives. Ultimately I believe Jesus was calling out his listener’s to not only do the occasional good deed for their neighbor, but to live lifestyles of integrity, like Daniel, where no reason for suspicion could be found.

Jesus had a reputation too. In fact it got him killed. He had a reputation for making radical claims and more than that he backed them up with his actions, actions that went continually above and beyond expectation. People knew they could count on Jesus, and at the same time they tried talk him out of his destiny as the Son of God. He had a reputation as a drunkard and glutton because He was always partying with the thieves, and sluts and liars. He had a reputation as a troublemaker because he flipped the social order on end and called the ruling elite names. He had a reputation as a lawbreaker because He didn’t buy into legalistic nonsense like the Pharisees. He had a reputation as a blaspheming heretic and a rogue prophet because He dared to speak the Truth in love. One thing is true about Jesus though, His reputation came about because He lived a life of consistently doing what His Father called Him to do even when it flew in the face of the establishment. Jesus was a man whose reputation certainly preceded Him and eventually led Him to the cross.

What’s your reputation? Is it one you deserve? Are you willing to keep living out that reputation? Are you willing to die for it? Why?

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4 Comments on “A Reputation To Die For”

  1. sista cala Says:

    In all my years I had not thought much about the innkeeper, nor the reputation of the Samaritan. Your post leaves me much to ponder. thanks

  2. Christian Says:

    Man, what an interesting insight. Maybe not just a man who was trustworthy but a man who was generous. I’ll bet he was a good tipper.

    I was reminded again the other night of a very unfortunate stereotype in the restaurant trade; overt Christians are usually lousy tippers. When a waiter has a table of guests and when the ‘god bless you’s’ start coming their way you can almost guarantee a sub 10% tip. Platitudes and blessings are nice but they don’t pay the bills. (Maybe Crown financial should do a series on this.)

    Seems trivial but…

  3. rogueminister Says:

    I did a sermon on that very idea once. I dont think it was a very popular one. Honestly I dont like to go out to eat with a lot of church folks for that very reason. Just the other day though I was thinking about how we should not only be generous with our tips but with our grattitude and thanks. We could perhaps grab the server sometime during or after the meal and let them know that we really appreciated their service and then hand them a great tip. I even think we should do this when the service really stinks because often there is a reason that the person doesnt do a good job, and besides God doesnt bless us based on our merit, He does it because it is good, and we should imitate that.

    Or sometimes my friends and I just tell them we usually pray before our meal and ask if there is anything we can pray about. It has been pretty cool to see the response, many people give a flat no, but there have been several who have poured out their hearts to us. In fact one lady at Waffle House just kept saying she couldnt believe how nice we were. Just becasue we said thanks when she poured our drinks and because we asked if we could pray for her. Its amazing how God works.

    By the way Christian, I dont think it is trivial at all, I think this is an excellent point and one that many more Christians need to hear.

    Thanks brother as usual for your great comments, and just a note, I read your blog often, but since I am overseas at the moment I sometimes have trouble logging in to make comments because my internet is a bit shaky here, so just wanted to let you know that I read it stil enjoy it and benefit from it very much.

  4. edgar Says:

    Rogue,

    I’m teaching class on Sunday on the Good Samaritan, and I find your insight helpful.

    I agree with you that it is very important for Christians to tip well. Waiting tables is hard work; being gracious to waitresses is ministering to “the least of these.”

    God bless.


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