“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NIV)
Most of us have heard the phrase, “A rose better any other name is just as sweet,” but have we really thought about the value of a name?
Just as there as many kinds of roses, with varying hues and fragrances, there are many kinds of names–with varying connotations attached and usually–the perceptions of others will increase the value of our name or detract from the worth of our name.
Think about this–when people hear your name–what is the first thing they think about? Do they smile or frown? Are they happy or sad? Are they inspired to seek you for counsel or to hide from you? Is being associated with you a good thing or a questionable venture? Remember the adage, “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “We are known by the company we keep.” What kind of company do you keep that determines the value of your name?
When people respect someone–there is usually an acknowledgment of that respect when someone utters their name. Those listening to the one who uttered the name, perk up and pay attention. This person’s name will revive good memories and stories abound about how good they are at this and that–how they stepped forward to help in a pinch, how selfless and considerate they are of others and this is a person–most want to be around–they have a good name.
However, the same is true when a person’s name is mentioned that has gained notoriety–a name that causes people dread and anguish or even brings up negative memories. Most people will shun anyone associated with this person simply because they have an affiliation with one whose name is not trusted or respected.
When I look at what is happening in our society right now–change of names with change of gender, change of political correctness and change of stance for what is right–I am not surprised with the reaction or responses some people have to hearing “some names” in the media. But it is because our perceptions of others are colored by the behavior or conduct associated with the name that we lose sight of the one name–Jesus–who was vilified by those who didn’t understand who He was or His purpose on earth. The religious leaders of the time sought to kill all who were associated with Him, not because the disciples had done anything wrong, but because the religious leaders were afraid of losing control over the people. There are still some people who fear the name of Jesus–especially when they don’t want others to come to know Him for themselves and then they’ll discover–how some have lied to them.
But what feelings are triggered when we hear the names? Caitlin,Bruce, Bill, Hilary, Obama, Boehner, Kagan, Thomas, Scalia, Ginsburg, Roberts, Kennedy, Tiger, McCain, Wesley, Michael, Kwame, Rosa, Martin, and the list could go on and on.
Now–what thoughts or feelings are triggered when someone mentions your name? Are the thoughts kind, respectful, considerate–does your name excite or defeat? When people hear your name associated with others, what is their likely conclusion about who you are?
If we conduct ourselves in such a way that many people would abhor association with us–we need to rethink how we do things or accept the fate of someone who will never rise to a level of success because without others–there is no true success.
When people mention Jesus and your name in the same breath–what is their conclusion about you? Will they say you’re living the life or living a lie?
A good name has value beyond measure and when it is heard, it is highly esteemed and promoted.