I learned this a few years ago, but it is interesting no doubt. There are many big name gas stations that allow independant people under cosignment to opperate the station with the their name, and supply gas to them and let them do so under the Corporate name. There are of course stipulations for this. Since the independent managers are running a station under the name of a well known business- there must be compliance with them so that their name is not discredited by indepentant contract managers who are borrowing a name to operate under.
This though is similar to being a Christian in a sense. Because to claim this name means – we ought to live our lives as Christ Jesus would have us. Otherwise we do diservice to His great name and make Him look bad to the world. Jesus Christ does not fail to be glorious because many who claim to be Christians can often fail to represent Him well. However, those who are on the outside looking in have only a Christian’s example often to go by. Since Jesus is not literally walking the earth now, all the world has to look to are those who claim to represent him.
Jesus taught a parable similar to this concept
—-33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:33-43)
In order to understand the parable, we must frame it in their time to understand the entirity of it. First he was addressing the Jewish religious leaders who had a large monopoly on religious power in that time and culture. What had happened was, they were misusing religious power for personal gain and control. They were not using it to point people to the appointed Messiah, the Christ that the old testament predicted many times would come. They were not using their power or influence to turn people back to God or restore them to the very One who the Law was all about. Jesus then warns “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:33-43)
So these religious hierchy and powerful were not doing so for the glory of God but themselves. Any good manager must manage well. Managers are entrusted but they are not the owner. An owner of a company is far greater then his assigned managers! If the managers fail to be trustworthy and responsible, they are removed or demoted- and replaced.
How about us as Christians? Salvation of course is a purely free gift of mercy and grace and I do not for one minute think God will revoke the salvation of a Christian who has truly been saved and born again. Yet there is a few things to consider, our faithful obedience is often how God evaluates whether we are ready to be in positions of influence or have responsibilities.
19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
There are many Christians out there who want more influence for Christ in the world yet have forgotten as we all have at times, we must glorify God with what he placed in front of us. How are we handling small matters of obedience and how are we doing the best to glorify Him where we are at? Are we doing His will? Are we using his blessings to do good to our neighbors and spread his message faithfully? Are we letting our witness truly reflect His love, character, holiness and virtues? Or are we allowing small matters of hypocrisy do damage?
Living the Christian life is of course possible only by the grace He supplies. Just as an independant store owner under cosignment receives merchandise, or in the analogy above, gasoline, from the owner who supplies him or her. So also we have no strength, righteousness or true goodness apart from Him enabling us to flow his love and goodness! We must stay close to him if we are to truly shine for him. Christian – Christ disciple or little Christ in the early sense of the word, and we must model our lives after him and his teachings so that we are not just claiming the name while refusing to go by the rules of the game!