Your name represents you. When your name is mentioned, people immediately think of ‘who’ you are and what they know about you. A lot sooner than we think, our life will be summarized on a headstone in a cemetery. Your first, middle, and last name will be there. Your date of birth and date of death will be inscribed. Perhaps a meaningful phrase or short sentence will be displayed at the bottom. But the critical part of that headstone inscription will be your name.

Has anyone ever warned you: “Be careful. You don’t want to get a bad name for yourself?”  Do they mean a name change on your birth certificate or do they have something else in mind? Something else!

Here’s what the Bible says:

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

A good name is better than precious ointment.” Ecclesiastes 7:1

Countless songs have been written about the wonderful Name of Jesus. His Name brings to our minds nothing but good – free from even a hint of sin or even the faintest shadow of any kind of wrong-doing or inconsistency in His life. Perfect in every way and absolutely free from sin.

Your name, as of today, represents the choices you have made up until now. If you are very young, your name will be associated primarily with your parents. But as you start to make your own decisions, those choices will define who you are and what people think of you. As soon as your name is mentioned, those things will flash into the hearer’s mind. Your name is inseparably linked with your reputation.

For example, if some fast-food junkie complains to the media about finding a decayed human tooth in their burger, the franchise’s stock will take a bad beating on the markets. A million burgers may have been good, but one bad burger can put a company out of business.

My name is just that vulnerable. One ill-advised choice. One bad decision. One secret sin exposed. One failure to do the proper thing. It takes time to build a good name – but no time to lose it.

Reputation represents what people think of you in this life. Character is who you are and what you take into eternity with you. Reputation is what people know about you. Character is what God knows about you.

The greatest pursuit I could have in life is to leave behind me a ‘good name’. A lot of effort goes into earning an education, and getting and keeping a job. But earning and keeping a good name is a far nobler pursuit in life — a good name that is honouring to Christ.

The greatest respect that could ever be paid to a Christian is for friends and neighbours to say at the funeral:

She loved her Lord, lived for her Lord, was like her Lord and now she’s with her Lord.”

That’s a good name!

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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