“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
More important than wealth and riches is the priority of having “a good name.” All of us are making some kind of a mark on the world in which we live. We will leave an impression, either positive or negative. We all have heard comments such as, “It doesn’t matter what others think.” In reality, it matters a great deal what others see in us. That does not mean that every decision we make should be based on whether it might be popular or gain the approval of others. We should do right because it is right, regardless of whether it is politically correct or popular. However, we should be very interested in whether our name, or reputation, is what it should be. Our name will determine the way people think of us, our posterity, our church, and most importantly, our Lord.
We learn from the Scripture that “a good name” must be “chosen.” We all make decisions and choices that will have a direct bearing on the kind of name that we have. Our priorities and character will help to develop our name. What impression do people have when they think of us? Have we earned the reputation of being a servant of others, or self-serving? Is our name associated with obedience, or rebellion? Do we have a testimony of being sensitive and considerate, or stubborn and harsh? Are we known as being industrious and hard working, or slothful and lazy? Would others agree that we are humble, or prideful and arrogant? Do we have a name for being honest and trustworthy, or deceitful and untruthful? The way we conduct ourselves will directly affect the kind of name we have. The apostles gave Joses the surname of Barnabas, which means “The son of consolation” (Acts 4:36). He earned this nickname because of the way he consistently encouraged others.
“A good name” is formed over a lifetime. A single good deed or appropriate action does not make for a good name. The way others view us, and the impression we leave will be the result of many, and often small, decisions. Our text says that “a good name” should be preferred over “great riches.” Some have compromised their good name for the sake of financial gain or temporal prosperity. For the sake of Christ, as well as the testimony of our family and church, let’s purpose to have a good name.