A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1
What’s in a name? There has probably been some point in our lives when we all have wished we had been given a different one! I admit I haven’t always loved Charlotte Genevieve, and if you are a parent, you may remember the process of trying to come up with the perfect name for your child. I have seen some pretty unusual ones lately, such as Satchel, Calico, Apple, Rumer, Dweezil, Hopper, and my all-time favorite, Diva Muffin! How would you like to have one of those? These are celebrity children, as you might have guessed!
Most of us truly care about our names and we should care even more about our “good name”. Shouldn’t we want to do everything we can to preserve it?
But for some, it doesn’t seem to carry the same importance. They seem to be more concerned with notoriety, money, power, or whatever desires they may choose to pursue, regardless of the cost to their personal integrity.
Scripture tells us that “A good name is to be esteemed and that it is worth more than great riches.” An old Japanese proverb says it another way, “Life is for one generation. A good name is forever.” When we speak of having a good name, we are referring to the impressions that people associate with us and our character. And that is something we should care about and honor at any age!
As our kids were growing up, we always tried to impress upon them the importance of making good decisions and being able to have pride in themselves. We wanted them to understand that people would judge them by the kind of individuals they presented themselves to be. And if their good name happened to be “soiled” in some way, it would stay with them, possibly for the rest of their lives.
Of course, we let them know that we all make mistakes and sometimes we even disappoint ourselves. So we especially wanted them to understand that if they did “mess up” in some way, we would always be there with all the love and support we had to give. But one thing we could not do was fix their “good name” or reputation. Once it was ruined, it was ruined, and there was nothing we could do to fix it.
Scripture tells us that there is value in having integrity and a good reputation, and that it is something worth preserving. It is a cherished possession, one that is easier to keep than to regain once it is lost.
A good name goes before you and you aren’t having to constantly do something to earn it or prove yourself any further. You have shown yourself to be an honest, and upright individual, and you have proven that you have a core set of values. You are consistent and you live what you believe. You do what you say you will do. Other people honor and respect you for having good character and a good reputation. And if you have a good name, it tends to protect you when you’re not around to defend yourself.
“To be esteemed with a good name is better than silver or gold!” It is definitely a prized possession and a gift that no amount of money can buy! And by having one, you honor God, our Creator and Sustainer of life.
Dear God, thank you for instilling in us the desire to strive to be individuals of integrity and worth. It would be so easy to adopt the ways of the world and be different people. But with your guidance and grace, we hope to live consistent lives dedicated to honoring you. Amen