Bond. Hitler. Curie. Booth. Oakley. Williams. Smith. Who has owned your name before you? Some names are still spoken as honorable. Some are notorious. And some names have been redeemed. What stories lie behind your moniker?
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.”
Names tell stories. What is the first name that comes to mind with this verse? Solomon. Yes, he compiled Proverbs, but he did not always live by them! Solomon was known as the wisest man on earth. He was so wealthy that in his town people tossed away silver because gold was so plentiful. But he’s known as the guy who did not have self control with women (1000 wives and concubines later…) and whose son saw the 12 tribes of Israel divide into Israel and Judah. What kind of name did he leave…a mixed title.
Solomon may have seen this coming. He talks a lot about wealth, succession, and what really matters in life in another book called Ecclesiastes.
“A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.”
This book is not known for uplifting descriptions of life. It is the view of someone who has had the illusions of “happiness can be bought” swept away by the hurricane of experience and reality. What was left was a pretty sparse landscape! Your reputation, your place in society are determined at death. The race is run, and all the mistakes are made. All that is left is for people to determine how they will remember you.
And that is the whole point…what is your reputation among your community? Who do you really admire, or who makes you stand a little straighter?
If you could write the end of your story, who would you want to be on the last page?
Now, if you are still not convinced that names are powerful, notice the authority that can come with one:
“9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God, thank You for names. Thank You for the power of stories, and how we can live them. God, what story am I telling? Whose story do I want to watch? Who can I encourage? What will people remember me for? Please help me to see myself through Your eyes, and remember the end of the world’s story. Thank You for giving me Your name: Christ-follower. Please help me to wear it well. Amen.