A Good Name (Proverbs 22:1)
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. —Proverbs 22:1
I was doing really well. I had gathered just about as much as I could. My baseball glove was filled to the brim with grass I had plucked from around me in the outfield. I looked proudly at my full glove of grass when I heard the coach yell, “Miller! What are you doing?!? Stand up!” I stood up at my place out in right field and realized the game was still going on around me. I looked at my glove full of grass, then at my coach, and slowly began to dump out the collection of debris I had so proudly acquired. I was doing really well—at the wrong goal. I was distracted and had forgotten why I was there.
Life can get boring and predictable. Distractions abound. The things around us pull our eyes, our thoughts, and our focus away from the reason we are here. In Proverbs 22:1 we read: "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
This verse answers the question, what should we strive to build and maintain? While some seek to build and maintain wealth—silver, gold and great riches—there is something much more valuable to pursue. Favor and a good name are more precious than any amount of material wealth. When faced with a decision to either succumb to sinful dealings, or accept loss and maintain your good name, remember God’s way. A good name is to be chosen rather than the world’s treasures, and favor chosen rather than coffers of earthly wealth. The refrain is repeated twice as Solomon drives home the point of this proverb—a point that is easy to forget. Pursue that which is priceless and lasting, not the temporal and material things you see around you.
We know that ultimately our righteous name before the Lord and the favor of God have been purchased for us on the cross of Christ, yet in our text today, the focus is on the eternal value of our spiritual reputation. The pursuit of a good name can seem like a fleeting endeavor, but for the Christian, it's given eternal value as our lives reflect our Savior, bringing glory to Him. Consider the New Testament epistles that continually call out by name the godly reputation of Christians and churches being addressed.
To the Church in Rome Paul says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). Many early Christians are singled out by name and commended in this chapter that culminates in: “the report of your obedience has reached all; therefore I am rejoicing over you” (Romans 16). To the Church in Colossae he says, “we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints” (Colossians 1:3-4).
Why does Paul praise these things? Why does a good name matter? Why should we pursue a godly reputation? 1 Peter 2:12 tells us: “Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
When you chose a good name and favor, you have a powerful platform that will clearly and beautifully proclaim the righteousness of Jesus. A good name points to a good Savior. It’s something that cannot be purchased; it is more valuable than great wealth. May you passionately pursue Jesus this day and may the conduct of your life preach the glories of His Name!
What is one way you have succeeded at the “wrong goal” in life? How have you learned from that?
Why is a good name worth pursuing? Why does Paul praise the spiritual reputation of the churches he writes to?
Many of us have financial goals, but do you have spiritual legacy goals? If you made a one-year plan for your spiritual legacy, how could you honor Jesus in the coming school year?