3 Reasons A Good Name Is Better Than Riches (Proverbs 22:1)
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
Have you ever thought about the status of your name? Would you say it is good? Do you even care how those around you view your name?
Just to clear up any confusion, I’m not talking about your actual name. Mine is Brian. There is nothing fancy or unique about that as over 1.2 million people in the U.S. share it. It’s statistically the 29thmost popular first name.
I’m talking about what your name implies. When people hear your name mentioned, what do they immediately think of you?
In this context, a “good name” really speaks to your integrity. It’s about your reputation and the character you possess 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 when you think about it. Your good name is better than all the money in the world!
Does that seem odd? It certainly doesn’t fit with what culture thinks about having money. I mean I could find some really 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. Here’s why.
Why a Good Name Is Better Than Riches
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 confidence, 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?
You don’t want to be in situation or relationship where people don’t trust you. Trust helps relationships and friendships grow deeper. Your good name will go a long way in making that happen.
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 life or only remember that you cared about yourself and your wealth? One of those will provide fonder memories and produce more positive future dialogue than the other.
Additionally, your character will have an influence on those around you, especially children. Kids are more likely to model the character traits of their parents and others (like teachers or coaches) who have positions of influence over them. In that way, the best parts of you can theoretically be passed down from generation to generation, thus making your good name eternal.
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.
In conclusion, 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.
So ask yourself, “Do you need to start working on your good name today?” It might take awhile to build or rebuild, but there is no doubt in the end it will be worth it.
Questions for Discussion: Do you believe that a good name is better than riches? Is your name in good standing with those around you? If not, what caused it and how could you turn it around? Have you lost sight of your integrity in the pursuit of riches? How popular is your actual name (click on the link at “most popular first name”)?
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