What Are You Known For?

William Borden was famous. His parents were millionaires. They were prominent members of the Moody Church in Chicago. The newspapers of the early 1900s reported on young Borden’s activities. Every door of opportunity swung open for this privileged youth.

However, those who knew him at Yale and then at Princeton saw a very different picture. Borden worked hard and served others. He shared the gospel with the poor. One classmate wrote, “No one would have known from Borden’s life and talk that he was a millionaire . . . but no one could have helped knowing that he was a Christian and alive for missions.” That passion defined him more than the life into which he had been born.

The easy route was open, but Borden chose the hard path. In 1913 at age twenty-five, Borden sailed for Egypt. After a few months of training, he planned to head to western China to take the gospel to the Muslims. Though Borden unexpectedly died of meningitis in Cairo, he is now remembered as a missionary hero, known not for what he possessed but for what he gave up to serve Christ.[3]  

For What Are You Known?

You may be defined by your family, social class, ethnicity, occupation, hobbies, dominant character trait, or any number of factors. Maybe you’re the stereotypical youngest child. Maybe you’re the violinist. Maybe you’re the plumber or the computer geek. Maybe you’re the Greek kid. Maybe you’re the boss or the expert. Maybe you’re the stuck-up know-it-all. Maybe you’re the happy-go-lucky, life of the party. Maybe you’re the failure, the victim, the hapless one that everyone pities. Not all of these are bad things to be known for, but how does your relationship with God mark your life?

A close walk with God will change you. Peter had been known as a fisherman. Contact with Christ made him an apostle. Paul had been a Jewish Pharisee. Contact with Christ turned him into a Christian missionary. How has your relationship with Christ transformed your reputation? Can you honestly say, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21)? Would others say it of you?

For what are you known? How do you change your reputation to something better?

1. Change your reputation by changing your time with God.

Prioritize your daily quiet time. Put it first. Why was David known as the man after God’s own heart? Well, God gave him this description in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. Why did David have this reputation? One reason is his devotional habits. David records that he began each day with God: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3). David’s walk with God continued through the day: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17). Change your reputation by drawing close to God.

2. Change your reputation by changing what you consistently do.

Actions speak louder than words. No, that’s not inspired Scripture, but this is: “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11). You are known for what you consistently do—by the fruits of your life. When evaluating teachers, Jesus exhorts us: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). Change your reputation by changing your daily habits. Be known for doing right and serving God sincerely.

3. Change your reputation by changing your motivation. 

When self is in the driver’s seat of your life, your reputation will stink of selfishness. That stench is at the heart of worldliness. Selfish people strive to reach their own ends, sparking conflict wherever they go. In contrast, selflessness emits a noticeable fragrance. Something is different, and the difference is good. Pursue God’s will and others’ good. Paul exhorts believers: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24). Change your reputation by seeking to please the Lord in everything.

So . . . For What Are You Known?

Your reputation stems from who you are and how others see you. A facade will only hide the true you for so long. What is inside will come out. What is hidden will be exposed.

How is your walk with God? What habits have you established in your life? What drives you to do what you do? These questions should point you toward being known for something more than just your job, your talents, or your idiosyncrasies.

May what was said of Borden be also attributed to you: “No one would have known from [insert your name]’s life and talk that he was a [insert an inherited trait] . . . but no one could have helped knowing that he was a Christian and alive for [God’s work].”

M. Conrad

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

One thought on “What Are You Known For?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: