After Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and Philip the Evangelist, comes Prochorus, the first of the lesser-known “Deacons” of the church in Jerusalem. He is only mentioned in this one verse of the Bible (Acts 6:) but many legends are associated with him. These stories aren’t inspired, so we can’t be 100% sure they are accurate, but they reflect the legends of the early church.
We know Prochorus was a man full of “good repute, full of the Holy Spirit, and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3). Legend says he was one of the 70 Jesus chose to carry the Gospel (Luke 10), but he is not explicitly named in that passage. Next, the traditions said Prochorus accompanied Peter to Asia Minor and was made an elder in the city of Nicomedia. From there, he is associated with the Apostle John and acted as John’s scribe. Some even believe Prochorus was exiled with John to Patmos and took down John’s dictation of the book of Revelation. There is also a fifth-century apocryphal book, “The Acts of John,” attributed to him, but that is impossible, so let’s go back to what we do know.
As we think about Prochorus, I’d like to focus on the first quality of these seven men. They were “full of good repute.” He had a good reputation. I like what Henry Ford said: “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Reputation is built over time. It’s about who you are and what you’ve done, so perhaps Prochorus had been a follower of Jesus. He may have been one of the seventy Jesus chose, and Prochorus even might have been one of the 120 in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost. People knew him, and they trusted him. Prochorus and the others were men you could count on.
We need to guard our reputations. Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” What can we do to build our good reputation? First, we need to be honest. The Bible is full of injunctions not to be hypocritical, to keep our speech simple and our thoughts pure. Reputation is built on actions, and Prochorus was a man you could count on.
So how is your reputation? You don’t build a good reputation by trying to live two different lives. Like Popeye, the Sailor said, “I yam what I yam an’ tha’s all I yam.” George Washington pointed out, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Finally, Thomas Paine observed, “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”