A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 ESV
The kings of Italy and Bohemia both promised safe transport and safe custody to the great pre-Reformation Bohemian reformer, John Hus. Both, however, broke their promises, leading to Hus's martyrdom in 1415. Earlier, Thomas Wentworth had carried a document signed by King Charles I which read, "Upon the word of a king you shall not suffer in life, honor, or fortune." It was not long, however, before Wentworth's death warrant was signed by the same monarch!
Today in the Word, April 1989, p. 16.
The most important asset believers have is their reputation. Our reputation determines our influence and our effectiveness in doing great commission work. Most people may not share our faith or agree with our Christian fervor, but they place a premium on our reputation. Thus, it is necessary to cultivate godly character. Paul told believers in Philippi, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any excellence if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8.
As kingdom workers, we represent Christ to the world. Our words have the power of life and death. Our reputation should reflect our commitment to Jesus Christ. Other people should not have to worry about our truthfulness, nor should they feel compelled to question our integrity because of questionable behaviors on our part.
Who do people say that you are? This is the question we should each ask ourselves. Some people say they don’t care what others think about them. That is disingenuous and unethical. We should care about our reputation, and we should protect that reputation like a precious treasure. Even Jesus was concerned about who people said He was. He even asked the disciples that very question in the synoptic gospels (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20).
In today’s text, the writer makes a bold statement that highlights the value of one’s reputation. He says: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Having fame and fortune with poor character makes one contemptuous. The price for fame and fortune should never be one’s integrity and reputation. Christians should be honorable men and women. People want to see how we live before they will accept what we believe.
In today’s illustration, the King of Italy, Bohemia, and France broke their promises that led to the death of two great reformers, John Hus and Thomas Wentworth. These kings made promises they did not keep. We must be slow to make promises and quick to keep and honor the promises we made no matter the cost. People should say that you are not a liar or deceiver. They should say they know you make every effort to honor your word and keep your promises.
Jesus’ contemporaries said many things about Him. Even those who did not like Him could not curtail His influence. The religious leaders killed Him, but they could not destroy His reputation. He became more notable after His death than He ever was in His lifetime precisely because of His reputation as the Son of God. Fifty years from now, it won’t matter where you live, how much money you made, or your educational achievements. But the world will forever talk about your reputation.
Questions for Personal Reflection
Who do your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family members say that you are?
How important is a good name to you?
Prayer- Heavenly Father, please help me to safeguard my reputation like a precious treasure. Reveal to me my blind spots so I can do your kingdom work with integrity. May the words of my mouth and my actions reflect my identity as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.