It seems I am asked to give personal references more and more often. I see it as a compliment –– a position that comes with age perhaps. I’m certainly honored to give a good report for someone I know.
Ron and I have been friends for almost 20 years. We first met professionally. His focus on family is similar to mine. He and his wife have only recently joined Kathy and me as empty nesters –– both of his daughters are well on their way to establishing lives of their own. Ron is beginning an encore career after working more than 30 years in the printing industry. I was asked to be his reference.
As I pulled into the parking lot of my favorite barbecue lunch spot, my cell phone rang. “Yes, I know Ron. No, it would be a pleasure. What questions do you have?”
The conversation went on for about 10 minutes. The final couple of minutes were left for me to share whatever I wanted to say about Ron. “First and foremost, he is passionate. He loves his community and has invested his time and talents in making other people’s lives better. Oh, and by the way, he loves his wife and daughters.”
There are important facts that don’t appear on resumes. These are the things that need to be given as testimony to who a person really is. The truth as you know it –– a good report.
Many characters in the Bible are described in some detail. Key characters are written about extensively –– line after line and chapter after chapter. There are also characters that the writers felt were worthy of mentioning but very little is revealed about them. One such person is Demetrius.
Johns introduces us to Demetrius in his third epistle without telling the reader who he is or where he lives. We know nothing of his family, his career or connections to his community. He is only presented as an example for imitation and is given “a good report.”
“Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone –– and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.” (3 John 12)
Living life as a reflection of truth is high praise. Demetrius appears to be a person of integrity. John scribes a testimony to Demetrius’s honesty, decency and sincerity. John even puts his own reputation on the line. He writes that “truth” itself finds no fault in this person.
I’m 56 years old and fighting becoming a health statistic. My annual physical showed some numbers were trending in the wrong direction. My doctor scheduled a follow-up appointment and gave me three months to make some improvements. I changed my diet and began exercising with my friend Hugo. It worked. The numbers fell back into normal ranges and I lost 25 pounds.
Hugo has a rugged, mile and a half wooded trail on his farm. I began clumsily and winded pushing to walk two laps. Those first three miles a couple of times a week took everything I had. Tomorrow, we are planning our first attempt at four laps, six miles. Our goal is to average 15-minute miles. It has taken a few months to get here, but now we walk nearly fourteen miles a week.
Hugo is athletic and feeds his workout addiction daily. I’m not that dedicated. Since I began walking his trails, he has guided my progression and has been invaluable in meeting my goals. Now, he is determined for me to add core-strength exercises. Core-strength exercises focus on the body’s core muscles, including abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. Strong core muscles make being active easier.
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he admonishes the reader to “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8)
Just like getting into shape, Paul urges us to turn our attention to this “core” in our relationship with God. Paul continues: “Think about these things. . .and the God of peace will be with you.” This focus strengthens us as we go. It produces a life worth noting.
It is as important as ever to be a people of “good report.” While truth is assailed, we must lift up Jesus –– the way, the truth and the life. We must handle the Word of God truthfully. We must uphold honesty, virtue and trustworthiness. At our core, we must, with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind, love our God –– for His glory.