A Good Name is to be Desired More than Gold or Silver

“Good name is to be desired more than gold or silver.” That’s what the bible teaches, but most people never think about what goes into the name they hang on a new born. We are not alone in that category; men of olden times didn’t give a lot of thought to what they were naming their children either. There are some real doozies in scripture, just like there are today. The sad thing about it is we don’t have any input into what our parents name us. I believe that is why God changed the names of many of the people in scripture.  For example, Jacob means deceiver, and that is what he was up until the time  he had an encounter with God and God changed his name to Israel. People think their home or vehicle is the most important thing they own; they are wrong. Our name is the most important thing we own. It’s so because it gives other people a look into our life. Our name informs the world of who we are as a person.  We don’t think about it, but we remain a mystery to people until we tell them who we are. But once they learn our name, we are no longer a mystery to that person. Let me prove what I say. When I say John Smith; what comes to mind? Does the John Smith of Pocahontas fame come to mind. Or, does another person with the same name come to mind? When we mention a person’s name we associate something with them that sets them apart from other people. They might be a nice person and the good deeds they have done comes to mind, or they might be an athlete who made a great play that made them famous or not so famous comes to mind. When I began to write this short message, a certain scene from a particular movie came to mind. I am talking about a scene from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” In this scene, Paul Newman and Robert Redford are sitting at a poker table playing cards with another person who accuses Robert Redford, aka, the Sundance Kid, of cheating at cards. The man dressed like a gun fighter is ready to kill Robert Redford for cheating until Paul Newman mentions the name, “Sundance.” Immediately the gunman asks Robert Redford, “Are you the Sundance Kid?” And in the next scene he made the statement upon Redford’s acknowldegement, “Why, you would have killed me.” The man had not been afraid of Sundance when he didn’t know his name. But once a name was attached to the person; instant recognition of a well known name turned the man from a wanna be killer into a coward. The name Sundance not only identified Robert Redford as an individual; but informed the other person of what he was best known for. Though Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was only a movie; the particular scene I described portrays the essence of the weight a person’s name carries with other people. Might I ask: what do people think when they hear your name? What are you known for? Do you have a good name, or a name people would rather forget? If you have a name people would rather forget; you can change their minds by doing what is right instead of doing the wrong things that gave you a bad reputation with them. A good name is not earned overnight, but with time a bad name can be changed into a good name by your actions.

I believe everyone when they started out in childhood desired to have not only a good name, but a great name. A name that everyone would recognize instantly, but not everybody achieves their goal. Achieving a good name is a lot like accomplishing one’s dreams. Both are possible accomplishments if we do not give up the pursuit of them. I believe people miss it because they do not understand that people can take from us everything we own, but they cannot take away our good name or our reputation. We have to give those two things away. People can take my home, my business, and anything else I possess, but they cannot stop me from treating people right. I have to make a conscious choice to do wrong, the same as I do to do the right thing. No one can make us do something against our will. No matter how strong their enticement may be, which includes death. I grew up in a generation where men helped a stranger and would give them the shirt off of their back, and a man’s word was his bond. Those people were honorable men and would rather die than break their word. Today, people are different because the times have changed. We have reams of paper that constitute a contract with which we try to make people keep their word, but if people do not plan to honor the contract, it doesn’t matter how many pages there are to it, they are not going to abide by the terms of it. So where do the people who start out with lofty goals of building a good name fail? I believe it happens after a couple of things didn’t turn out the way they expected them to. After that it just got easier to quit trying and let things take their own course. And, of course, we know that when things are left to take their own course, they are going to follow the path of least resistance the way a river follows the lay of the land. It is never easy to make yourself a person of good reputation, but it gets easier as we do the right thing when there is an opportunity to do wrong. It will cost you to do the right thing, it always does. So the person who desires a good name must be prepared to pay the cost to keep their good name and their reputation intact. Opportunities will arise on a regular basis to do the wrong thing, therefore a peson must always be alert and on guard because the pressure to take advantage of another person is ever present with us. But it is when we do the right thing for the right reasons that we develop a good reputation with other people and doing the right thing for others when there is an opportunity to take advantage of them will soon become as natural to us as drinking a glass of cold water on a hot day. DThrash

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