22 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Luke 2:52 New International Version (NIV)
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Lord, why did Solomon place such a high value on a good name?
In a sense, your name is the sum total of your impact on other people- how they perceive you, how they relate to you and you to them. Your name is intimately connected to your legacy and calling- who I’ve called you to be and what I’ve called you to do.
How’s it developed?
By treating people with kindness, justice, fairness, respect, generosity. A good name flows out of practical righteousness. Righteousness, in turn, flows out of relationship with Me. Like I told the disciples in John 15, those who abide with Me and in Me bear much fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Look at how many of these terms have to do with relationships; all of them, really.
Your legacy, your impact on people, the mark you leave on your world- all flow out of who you are on the inside. You can’t establish a good name based on PR or propaganda or social manipulation, not really. True practical righteousness can’t be faked; the fruit will always reflect the root. The real thing-a legacy of love and service and generosity and wisdom and humility and open friendship- is priceless. It should be highly valued by all who seek to live life well and fulfill their destiny and calling. That’s what Solomon was getting at.
Wow- that’s definitely a lifelong pursuit!
Sure. It should be the goal of all true education and it encompasses intellectual, social, spiritual and physical development. Like Luke says, the incarnate Son grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and Man. It’s what qualified Daniel and his three friends to have the impact they did on Babylonian politics, society and culture. Their training at home and in the synagogue gave them a foundation for a good name. Above all, they loved and feared Me. Everything flows out of that.
Is that why some many of our universities seem to be failing at truly educating our young people? Sometimes I think most kids would be better off not attending college at all!
All isn’t lost. Pray for your colleges and universities. Pray for a new generation of professors and administrators who have reconnected with this foundation: the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. As I raise them up, they can once again point the way for succeeding generations to fulfill their destinies.