“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches; and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
When people speak your name, how are you known? More importantly, when you are gone, how will you be remembered? Even though I haven’t always, I now try to live my life so that I will be remembered in a good way. Like I used to, and probably still do at times, many go through life living only for themselves, with no thought for others or for tomorrow. However, I suspect that deep down everyone wants to leave behind a trail of good: a legacy. We all want our lives to matter.
The problem is that no matter how hard we try to do enough good in order to leave a legacy, we are always going to run head-on into this little problem called ‘reputation.’ Our reputation is always on display and thus at risk for being marred. Unfortunately, as humans, we are always prone to messing things up. Sometimes, it isn’t even something we have done wrong but rather something we have been accused of doing. Just look at what can happen when rumors run rampant online! When a reputation is damaged, it is very difficult to repair. Ask any politician! Time and time again this is seen as devastation is brought into the lives and careers of public figures who have made wrong decisions. They would likely pay any amount to undue it, but once it happens, there is little that can be done to amend the damage of a ruined ‘name.’
In the verse above, God demonstrates the value He places on a good name and also that He understands we cannot of our own doing obtain a good reputation; rather, it is only by our choosing. He knows in advance that we are going to mess up and that our priorities are really flawed. We place value on things, like money or fame. We try to make a name for ourselves, hoping to pass that onto others someday. He wants none of what we bring to the equation in terms of reputation. Instead, He asks us to choose a name: His Name. He wants us to bank our reputation on the One who lived ‘above reproach.’ It is only through coming to know Jesus and then letting Him daily clean up all the messes in our lives that any of us can ever get it right. When we die, if others remember us as people who chose Him above all else, we will then leave behind the only legacy that really matters: the legacy of a good name. A really good Name!