ODJ: the tale of three men

August 23, 2014 

READ: 3 John 1:1-15

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good (v.11).

Once there were three men who served in the same community—Gaius, Diotrephes and Demetrius. 

Gaius was “Mr. Nice Guy”. But that doesn’t mean he was a pushover, as some movies portray nice guys. He rightly discerned who needed help and faithfully cared for those who served God—even if they were strangers (3 John 1:5). He was a man of integrity (v.3), but that wasn’t his best quality. For Gaius was a man “strong in spirit” (v.2) who possessed a steady walk with God. 

As for Diotrephes, let’s just say it would have been good to avoid him (v.9). But then again, it would have been hard to ignore his presence. Apparently, he loved taking the lead. Diotrephes made his negative opinions and “accusations” heard, championing his own agenda (v.10). He liked playing the part of chief of church discipline and put people out of fellowship for—of all things—serving others. If Diotrephes didn’t like someone, he would scratch that person’s name off the list and send them packing. He was a truly arrogant, selfish and domineering guy.

Finally, there was Demetrius. Everyone spoke highly of Demetrius. His conduct meshed well with God’s Word, and he was a worthy role model (v.12). 

At the end of the day, there’s a simple way to describe these three men: Christ-like or not Christ-like. It’s pretty obvious to see which guys were the Christ-like ones and which one wasn’t. 

These three men lived nearly 2,000 years ago. But they continue to be presented as examples in Scripture—either good or bad. 

When our names are mentioned in the future, what will be said of us? Christ-like man? Christ-like woman? Just as with Gaius, Diotrephes and Demetrius, our character and how we served others in Jesus’ name will tell the tale. —Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan› Mark 10:1-16

Read Ephesians 5:2; 1 Timothy 4:12; and Titus 2:7 to see the kinds of examples God desires us to be.
What will your life be known for? What needs to change for your character and service to become more Christ-like?