Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works… (Titus 2:7 ESV)
A footbridge on my wooded undergraduate college campus was named after an early 20th century dean who told her students, “Remember who you are and what you represent.” Our college leaders continually reminded us that we were members of our college community and that we were to represent our college by upholding the honor code, the few rules, the rigorous liberal arts education, academic honesty, and to respect our fellow students and local community.
Recently, I thought about this saying and asked myself, “Who am I and what do I represent?” I know who I am. I know my name and family background. I know that I am a Christian, a United States citizen, a retired librarian. What do I represent? I represent the body of Christ, my church, my family, my country, the organizations to which I belong, and more. I asked myself how I represent my church, my family, my country, and the organizations to which I belong. Do my words and actions reflect the values of these groups and attract others to them? Do they reflect the speech and behavior of a Christ-follower? In contrast, would any improper behavior reflect poorly on all that I represent, and ultimately Christ himself?
As a Christian, I started to think—it is more than what I represent. It is Who I represent. I rephrased my college’s admonition to say, “Remember who you are and Whom you represent.” Yes, as a child of God, I represent Christ. Therefore, my conduct must model that of a Christ-follower.
The Bible teaches us much about being good representatives of Christ. Jesus told his disciples, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 ESV). Paul wrote to Timothy to be a good example, “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12 ESV). Paul wrote to Titus, “show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity” (Titus 2:7 ESV). Peter encouraged Christians facing persecution, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles […] they may because of your good deeds […] glorify God [..]” (I Peter 2:12 NASB).
Professionally, how can librarians represent Christ? How they interact with anyone coming to their libraries gives that individual a favorable or unfavorable impression of libraries. It is always hoped that the interaction and the impression will be favorable. Christian librarians know that the service they offer to others will reflect upon Christ and Christianity. A good representation will make Christ attractive to patrons. As Christians, we know who we are and Whom we represent. We know we are to do all to the glory of God.
Elizabeth is a retired librarian from Clearwater Christian College. She has been an ACL member since 1976 and was awarded an ACL Lifetime Service Award in June 2023.