“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
What’s the status of your name? Would you say it is good? Do you even care how those around you view your name? I’m not talking about the actual name. Mine is Barry. My name means “fair haired.” I have no idea how that applies to me. It should of meant “losing hair.” When people hear your name what do they think of you? A good name really speaks to your integrity. Therefore, it’s about your reputation and the character you have inside. It identifies who you are from a moral and ethical standpoint. Essentially it is what you are all about.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 “a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…” That’s amazing! Your good name is better than all the money in the world. That’s what people think when your name is mentioned. Does that seem odd? I mean I could find some positive ways to use great riches. It sure would set my mind at ease knowing I’d never need to worry about money again. That may be true but a good name still provides more value than money. I can think of three reasons why a good name is better than great riches:
1. A good name provides stability.
When you have a good name people can trust you. That trust is a stabilizing factor in your relationship with them. They know what to expect from you and can lean on your decisions with absolute surety, knowing they were made with pure motives. Those whose good name has been tarnished have a difficult time building trust and consequently maintaining friendship. Their motives will always be questioned as insincere. They are more or less seen as looking out for themselves and taking little consideration for the needs of others. And how often do you question the motives of those who throw their great wealth around? Doesn’t it seem like there are often strings attached? That they have an ulterior motive for using their money?
2. A good name is eternal.
Riches are fleeting. They could be with us one minute and gone the next. And of course we know that we can’t take riches with us once we leave this world at the time of our death. A good name however is theoretically eternal. How many men and women of history are still being spoken of in a positive light? Wouldn’t it be special if that could be you? How will your legacy be remembered and portrayed by family, friends or colleagues once you are gone? Will they focus on the value of your good name or only remember that you cared about money? One of those will provide fonder memories and produce more positive future dialogue than the other.
3. A good name brings loving favor.
The ending phrase of Proverbs 22:1 says, “…loving favor rather than silver and gold.” As we are to seek a good name instead of riches, so we are also to seek loving favor over riches. And I can think of no better way to garner loving favor than to have a good name. People will love you for having integrity. They appreciate you for the kindness, mercy and attention to their needs that you show. They will stay by your side when you are attacked. And let’s be honest – we all would prefer to be loved, right? “I want to be loved” is one truism to which we can all relate. While riches we could live without, a life that doesn’t experience love would be devastating.
Now please understand that riches are not evil and there is nothing wrong with having them. But a good name is better than riches, better than all the riches of the world. It provides more value in the present and the future. Do you need to start working on yours today? This Sunday at South Side we will unpack some more reasons why a good name is so important from scripture. Worship begins at 10:45, and we would love to have you there!