WISDOM OF LIVING (27) GOOD NAME”              By Pastor YAU

Proverbs 22:1                                                                      May 15, 2005

 

INTRODUCTION: 

1)    Success: Whatever it takes: In a culture that promotes “success on whatever it takes,” people tend to forget the value of good reputation and character until they have plunged into either legal entanglement or moral scandal, then they begin to realize the true value of building and protecting a good name. Society and business have suffered so much loss because of the negligence of reputation and character. Government officials and corporate giants have betrayed their trust and suffered immense loss of confidence from their counterparts.

2)    Recognition of character and good name: It is now coming back to recognize the importance of reputation or the “good name” a person has. Today people begin to value “good name” in many aspects of life: social, political, business and personal.

 

WHAT IS A GOOD NAME?

1)   A name is an ID of a person: The privilege of giving names to our children is the highest honor of being parents. The names we give to our children will stay with them as long as they live. It is by their names we recognize people. Many parents named their children with hopes and good wishes. It is very important that we try our best to measure up to the names we were given. Bearing the names of good character and reputation is a blessing and a good start of the journey of life.

2)   A name also represents the nature or character:  When we mention the name of a person, we visualize the nature and character of that person in our mind, good or bad, pleasant or irritated. A name is more than words. It is “who” he is and “how” we recognize him. A “good” name means a “good” person, a person of good nature and character. That name carries our respect and good feeling.

3)   A name is also how people remember us:  Either while we are still living or after we die, our names will last much longer in the hearts and minds of people. How we live our lives, how we relate to people and what impact we may have on others will last many years after we left a place or this world. That’s all our names will remain in others. We see some people with bad name and character no one wants to remember.

 

HOW IS A GOOD NAME IMPORTANT? 

1)   A good name is important to you:  People respond or react to us mostly on how we treat or respond to them. Most decent people love to associate with people with good character and good name. If you build and keep your good name, you will draw people of like kind who respect you because of your character and good name. This will, in turn, enhance your character building and future: education, friendship, marriage, career and social life. Your good name and character will certainly be recognized by your peers, your company and your church. You will have better opportunity to develop your potential. The world continues looking for a few good men in government, military, business or any other aspects of the society. All young people are looking for men and women with good name and character to marry.

2)   A good name is important to your family: Studies of sociologists and behavioral scientists point out the importance of family in the formation of character and personality of all of us. We are products of our family. We learn the good and the bad from people in our family. We form values and judgment from that of our family. When people see us, they see the kind of family we are from. Our good name, or bad one, reflects either respect or disrespect from others. Our good name brings glory and honor to our parents and children. Our bad reputation also brings shame to our family. Children grow up in families of bad name or character will have hard time to form proper attitude and manner. The last thing we want to do to our children is to leave them a bad name.

3)   A good name is important to God and His church:  While the church is for sinners, God may use your good name to bring more sinners into a saving relationship with Him. A good name and good character will be recognized by non-believers and attract them to know the Lord. When people are looking for someone to follow or listen to, people with good name will be sought out. People with good name are also sought out to serve in God’s churches. This has been so from the first century when leaders of the church were chosen. One of the qualifications of those chosen was a good name. (Acts 6:3) Many churches need men and women with good name and character to lead, to grow and to spread the gospel to save more souls. Men and women with good name and character will impact others in their character building.

 

WHO MAY GET HURT BY A BAD NAME?

1)   A bad name may hurt you:  Any bad name: bad temper, bad attitude, bad habit, bad reputation, being lazy, dishonest, greedy, relentless behavior, irresponsible, undependable, very selfish, cruel, immoral life style, just to list a few, will certainly bring you shame and blocking you from others. No one likes to associate with people of those bad names. You will be isolated, despised and rejected. You will have hard time to find friends who will last long. You will not be able to keep jobs and be productive in what you do. If you married, you will have lots of problems with you spouse, children and relatives. You will be a burden to your neighbors or anyone who is close to you. You certainly will feel lonely all your life. Your existence will be a terrible journey of suffering.

2)   A bad name may hurt people around you:  No one lives his/her life alone. We all live with others: people in our family, at work, in school, at church, in your neighborhood, the community, etc. If you bear a bad name, character or personality, you certainly will make the lives of those around you miserable and suffering. Your negative influence will affect others and impact those who are closest to you: your spouse and children. Your family and closest friends will feel shameful and painful to be identified with you.  They have to struggle extra hard to compensate the negative impact you have left in their lives. You will be a burden to them and at times, they wish you were not there.

3)   A bad name may hurt God and His church:  No one can find fault in God and His church except faults of people who have bad names, character and personality. How we live our lives, manage our temperament, respond to others will all bring impacts, either good or bad, to the name of God and His church. It might not be the proper reason for some non-believers who don’t want to go to church because they see some people in the church carry their lives around with bad names, character and personality. But many souls were lost because of bad names of some Christians.

 

PROPER ATTITUDE ON GOOD NAME:

1)   Good name is not fame: First of all, we need to know that good name is not the same of fame or popularity. Good name is about character, reputation, personality and nature. No one should live his life for the purpose of building a name, fame or popularity. Everyone should live his life focus on building good character, personality and improve his human nature and good name will come. Christians should not seek to build their own fame. We all should focus on building the name of the Lord and His church.

2)   Good name is given, not demanded: No one should focus on good name by do good and right. Doing good and right is our duty. It is the Lord’s command. (Mathew 5:15-16) A good name is the recognition of a person on his character, nature and personality by people around him. It is a gift of honor and respect others bestow on you. We just do our best, fulfill our duties, treating others what we are required to do and beyond to make the lives of others better, warmer, easier. In due time, someone will crown you with a good name in sincerity and respect. Even if not, we have done our part and that is enough.

3)   Good name is to glorify God:  While we are all human and will enjoy praises and good will from others, our ultimate purpose in having good name is to glorify God. We are here to magnify the nature and love of God. If anything we do and in the process someone is benefited and bring us a good report, same as good name, we need to give that to the Lord. For it is through His grace and in His strength we are able to do what we do. All we need to do is to rely on His protection and grace that we may be able to do more and better. Keep God at the center of your life and you will bear more fruits.

 

WHY IS GOOD NAME MORE DESIRABLE THAN GREAT RICHES?

1)   It is about value system: Most people today will definitely take great riches than good name. Our society has moved so much to materialism from character and respect. Many people will scheme others, be it corporation or individual, to get rich at the expense of their character and respect. The “get rich regardless of how” mentality has prevailed in the mindset of many people. But in reality society at large still respect those who care about character and respect more than riches. Many of the richest people are not the kind of people society will respect or honor.

2)   It is about duration:  Few people don’t like riches but all know that riches never outlast good name, character and respect. People may get rich by illegal or unethical means or pure luck, like robe a bank or strike a jackpot or flying high on stock market. But no one will gain respect or good name on character overnight. Very few people will remember someone because of his fortune but most of those whom we remember are people of good name and character. King Solomon, being a very rich man, he knew exactly what will last longer.

3)   It is a matter of choice:  God sets rules of life in the Bible and the consequence of man’s choices. But He never forces anyone to do anything against his own will. God is delighted in seeing people obeying His commands because of love and obedience. Freedom of choice always brings blessing to those who choose God’s way but loss and misery to those who choose their own way. That’s why God is righteous. We make our choices and we face our consequence.

 

CONCLUSION: 

1)   Making the right choice of your life: It doesn’t matter which stage of life you may be in at this point, you always have the freedom to choose which way you will spend your life: to choose rich, silver and gold or to build a good name or character and gain respect of people around you. Solomon was not talking about rich and poor. He was talking about riches and character. The choice is yours.

2)   Choose the best name on earth: No amount of gold or silver may pay your way to heaven to be with God after you finish your journey on earth. It is only by the grace of God and your faith in Jesus Christ, you will be saved from eternal perish. Choose to believe in Him and you will be rewarded with a good name above all good names, the name of being a child of God.