When I was a teenager, I got a job in a little dress shop/variety store in the sleepy little town of Wartburg, TN. I enjoyed my job, and my boss was a friend of our family. I really think back on those days with fond memories.
The other day, I was thinking about those days, and a memory popped into my mind. Between home and work, there was a tiny little family-owned gas station. It was an older lady and her middle-aged son who owned and ran it. My Dad also worked in Wartburg at the time, and he had told me to stop there for gas. So, I did. I paid with cash, but after a few trips, I asked the lady if I could pay with a check if I ever needed to. So she asked my name and I told her, “Joy Snow,” and told her who my dad was. She said, “Oh yeah! We know Dale. Sure, you can pay with a check any time. We know the Snows.”
My Dad had made a good name for himself, and had given it to me. It wouldn’t have mattered in that small town how much money we had. The owners wanted to know my name.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
Now, for a contrast:
The other day, my husband and I were sitting in the doctor’s office, reading as usual. He read an article about a climbing boxing star. I will choose not to mention his name, because the article is not about him. However, he is making an INSANE amount of money per fight and has a perfect record so far. I’m talking, he has made $100s of millions! (Until he loses his senses and develops Parkinson’s disease from all the beating! But that’s beside the point.)
The article was written by a reporter who was accompanying him for a few days. They made one stop at a jewelry store where he proceeded to buy his 13-year-old daughter over $200,000 worth of jewelry in just a few minutes. He has two different residences, and a different set of cars for each residence. For instance, if he wakes up in L.A., he sees the black set of vehicles and can remember where he is! When he stays in hotels, he always leaves his mega-expensive tennis shoes in the room…for a trademark, I guess. One of the men accompanying him carries a duffle bag full of bundles of $100 bills. I cannot imagine!
I am not suggesting it is sin to have money. We all need it to live! But I think you can see where the emphasis is in this man’s life.
But which is better? Which is honoring to the Lord? One of my first thoughts concerning his daughter was “Poor girl!” She is anything but poor by the world’s standards, but her father has a name of selfishness, a name of wastefulness.
Which would I rather teach my children? Well, I have no “riches” option at the moment! But how much better is it to live for God, making a good name among those in your community? How much better is it to teach your children to live by the Word, being honest and fair, having a good name? How sad if I lavished my children with the most expensive clothes and shoes money can buy, and never took them to Sunday School to learn about Jesus? How sad if I bought them every Wii game they wanted, yet did not pray with them at night and over meals? Wouldn’t the heart of our Creator break to see us more worried about driving the latest and greatest vehicle, and forgetting to give to the missionaries giving their lives and comfort to tell about Jesus overseas?
Those two stories made this verse absolutely come alive in my mind! There is no comparison! I want to work hard to make a good family name for us! And living by God’s Word is the way to do it! I want to teach my children how important it is to have a good name!