Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Good Name

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches..." (Proverbs 22:1a)

There are many things of greater value than riches, not the least of which is a good name, says the wise man. We as Christians sometimes like to boast that our only concern is what God thinks of us; yet the apostle, Paul, said in 2 Corinthians 8:21, "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." If the scales must tip one way from time to time, it should always be toward the favor of God; but as a general rule, God prefers balance (Prov.11:1).

Obviously, one cannot choose his or her family name. A man or woman may change his or her name legally, and a woman, if she marries, will one day take the name of her husband; but that does not change the fact that they bear the identification their birth parents, and more particularly, their father. However, one can determine what he or she does with that name. It's not a matter of living up to someone else's expectations, but, rather, living in the light of inherent advantage (Luke 12:48b). If you and I have been blessed with a family name unbesmirched by scandal or gross sin, we should consider ourselves rich indeed, especially in today's society. And we should be mindful of our own responsibility to pass the same heritage down to our own children.

But what of those among us who were not born with such an advantage? Have they no standard to look to? Yes indeed. For as children of God we carry the family name of the King of Kings, a name that is "far above...every name that is named, not only in this world, but also that which is to come" (Eph. 1:21).

A good name is much better than great riches; and those of us who legitimately wear the name "Christian" have a very good name, no matter what is written on our birth certificate!

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