Today’s posts is by guest writer Lucas Ward.
Prov 22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
I’ve been doing some study on names and how they were used in the Bible. The word for name is also the word for renown. A name wasn’t just a person’s designation; it was his reputation. It represented to others all the important facts about a person. One got this name by how he had lived his life. He could win a great name or earn a worthless one. His name depended upon who he was and then it represented him from that time on. Solomon says that to get or keep a good name, one should be willing to sacrifice wealth. For some reason, that immediately reminded me of two more passages.
John 1:1-5, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
So, He who was to become Jesus was in all ways God. In all points equal to the Father. He gave up that equality (Philp. 2:6-7) to become flesh and dwell with us for the purpose of saving us from our sins. If ever anyone sacrificed wealth, this was the occasion. And what did He receive for this sacrifice?
Philp. 2:9-11 “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
He earned a good name. The best name. The name that is universally known and to which all will bow. He is the proof of the truth behind the proverb.
Now, it should come as no surprise that the Messiah is the epitome of this proverb. Doesn’t He epitomize them all? Yet there is more here. He is the example to us all. In Isaiah 62 there is a prophecy that God would give His people a new name to go with the new covenant. That is fulfilled in Acts 11 where the name Christians was bestowed upon the disciples. Just as God gave His Son a “name that is above every name” because of the sacrifices Jesus was willing to make for that name, Jesus has offered to us a good name which is much greater than riches. Just as the Lord had to sacrifice for His name, though, we must be willing to sacrifice to keep our good name. The Lord says that any who want to be a disciple must “take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24). So, the question is what “wealth” are you willing to sacrifice for the good name God is offering? The Lord gave up equality with God for His name, will you miss NCIS one Tuesday night to teach a friend the Gospel? Would you miss a Gator game to visit the sick? Or cut back on the fishing? Or give up your rights to keep peace in the Church? Or gladly defer your opinion to the elders? Do we really value the good name God offers, or do we hold tightly to our wealth? One thing I know: on that day, I want the Lord to know my name.
Isa 62:2 “. . . and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.”
Act 11:26 “. . . And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”