This has to be the most ignored proverb of all! Proverbs 22:1– ‘a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…’ If you had the choice between riches and a good name, which would it be? Could I have both!? Lottery winners fantasize that they will handle their new-found monies without any difficulty at all. Spend it wisely. Turn aside all erstwhile relatives so needy for extra cash, who suddenly appear out of nowhere!
The statistics don’t bode well for such good intentioned, newly-wealthy, lottery winners! Our culture really puts the super rich on a pedestal. Gates…Buffett… Rockefeller–names of the unbelievably wealthy, past and present.
I didn’t read your name on that list. That’s strange. Anyone see mine? No. Well, look again. Are you sure? Not there, huh? Only a precious few can make the most wealthy list. But all of us can have a good name, and according to God’s Word, that’s the better of the two…by far. We can have a good name!
Reading Proverbs 21:20 through 22:4, we discover what is means to have that good name. No where does it list anything whatsoever about your net worth. Not one thin dime! Or how much education you’ve achieved. Or the square footage of your home. Or what luxury car you drive. All left out. Important things? Of course. Critically important? Not on your life, and not to God. He values a ‘good name’ more than any of those other ‘things’.
What comprises a ‘good name’? First, a good name seeks God and His ways with all the kindness and love we can muster(verse 21). With self-control and boundaries, good stewardship(verse 20). A person with a good name knows how to watch what he says(verse 23). Guard your tongue. Tell the truth. Exhibit genuine humility(verse 24). Hard-working and generous(verse 25). That’s what makes for a ‘good name’.
Character… in action. Not just empty words. Certainly not ‘do as I say and not as I do’. Quite the contrary. But I wonder–will everyone like me? Didn’t read that as part of a ‘good name’. Not a popularity contest. Do I match up? Hardly. I feel the pinch of conscience.
But God’s not done with me yet. Or with you, either. What needs to change immediately, though, is the priority of a good name above anything else. Lord, I want a good name… above all else. And that’s a commitment. Ready? Let’s go…for a good name!
Prayer: Lord, I want a good name. Help me to understand what that means in my life. To be more like Jesus. Amen.