Have you ever been (or not been!!) cynical when you hear politicians making great promises or doing a 180 policy turn based on what they claim to be “solid, expert, and scientific research?” They adamantly deny it has anything to do with polls and popularity: “Our decision is based on deep conviction with a singular eye for the good of the people.” If winning a popularity contest was the most important goal in life, most of us could do it. You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to get the formula right. Shake enough hands; perform enough favors; remember every birthday and anniversary; be nice to people’s kids; always tell them what the majority wants to hear; smile plenty.
It is so refreshing to read about Demetrius. He’s an outstanding Bible character. Have you ever conducted an exhaustive study of his life? Perhaps you don’t feel you have the time or the skills to do an in-depth character study on brother Demetrius. Would you be swamped with details? Would you require spreadsheet software to organize, classify, and analyze all the events and episodes of his life? Not really. Here’s all the Bible records of his life: “Demetrius hath a good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea and we also bear record and ye know that our record is true” (3 John 12).
That’s it; but isn’t it powerful! It’s a full story itself. Look over your shoulders at the older ladies chatting and munching on cookies: “Isn’t that Demetrius something else! What a blessing. With such awful things going on in this assembly, he’s like an anchor. He has such a hold on the Truth and it has such a hold on him.” Listen to the young people talking outside after the Breaking of Bread: “Man, I’d love to become a Christian like Demetrius. He walks the talk. He doesn’t preach one thing to us and then do something different himself. He’s a walking Bible! When I want to know the Truth, I go to him.” Pull up a chair and hear what the older men are saying: “He’s as solid as a rock. Dependable. Predictable. Spiritual. Nothing shallow or superficial about him. He knows the Truth and he practices it.”
Everyone had something good to say about this Christian man. We’re not sure if he was a visiting brother carrying the epistle we know as 3 John to Gaius or a member of this local assembly. But one thing is clear: whoever he was and wherever he was, he was loved and respected by all. There was more to Demetrius than smiles, handshakes, and pleasing words.
God ensured that Demetrius’ good testimony and commitment to Truth was recorded in His Word as a permanent and eternal record of the link between belief and behavior – truth in motion. You could scrutinize Demetrius’ life with the fine-toothed comb of Scripture and the good news was: he measured up. The truth commended him. And finally, the godly apostle John spoke highly of him. What about the godly Christians you know, those who walk closely with the Lord and who are known to know their Bibles (The Truth) – what do they think? That’s a very important consideration.
What contest are you seeking to win – the one that requires primarily personal charisma, smart people, networking skills, and a lot of glad-handing? Or is your prayer to become a Demetrius who walked closely with the Lord? He desired the Truth, knew the Truth, loved the Truth, lived out the Truth, and was measured by the Truth. As a result he was positively commended by all groups – saved and unsaved, young and old, near and far. That’s the contest the Lord wants to see you win. The other one is shallow, short-lived and unhealthy.