“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1-2 NKJV)
Solomon knew how important a name was. Think names aren’t important, try naming your child “Adolf” or “Benito.” You’ll hear howls of complaints, as well you should. Even though your child wouldn’t have been involved in the terrible things those two men did, they’d be stigmatized forever by that name. I think, though, that Solomon was speaking more about a person’s reputation than their actual name. When people hear your name, how do they respond? Does a smile come to their face because your name reminds them of good things, or do the scowl if they know you’re coming around because of the bad memories they have associated with you? Wealth comes and goes, but a good name, a good reputation takes years to build up and just minutes to destroy, especially with all the outlets people have to broadcast how you messed up. Some people have been willing to cut ethical corners to gain a lot of money, but all the wealth in the world won’t make up for a bad reputation. You want to have a great name to live up to? Wear the name of Christ and live for Him every day.
You build a good name by a lifetime of doing those kinds of things that we as Christians claim to be virtues. (Which doesn’t mean that only Christians have these virtues.) Do you speak honestly? Are you trustworthy? Are you kind? Compassionate? Do you care for those less fortunate? (See Proverbs 22:9) Do you think of others more than you do yourself? You may not gain great wealth living that way, but you’ll gain a great name which truly is better than great riches.
Lord, help me to build up a good name based on my relationship with You. When others see me, may they realize that You alone have made the difference in my life. Make my reputation one of a person who honors You with all my heart.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.