Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Good Name

It has been a pretty relaxing week at work... the schools are out for Christmas, so the phones almost never ring. It has been fun getting to work on more exciting projects and less on customer issues, though I do greatly enjoy interacting with different customers. It is nice to have a little change for a week or two all the same. My boss pulled me into his office a while back (I thought I might be in trouble for something, though I didn't know what)... he showed me an email that he had received regarding how grateful one of our customers was for some things that I had done. The reason I mention this is because I was reading Proverbs 22 this evening... verse 1 says:
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.
I was reminded of this incident when I read these words, but maybe not how you'd expect. The things I had done for this customer were small. Yes, I was nice, yes, I was helpful, but these things were small. I am glad that they were thankful, but an email does not define "a good name". A good name is not based on a couple things that you do, it is based on your life... your character... who you are at the core. Yes, I enjoy the emails from people that have never met me that are happy about something I did, but I so much more want to really have a good name.

It glorifies Christ when we have a good name because we are representing Him. Someone recently pointed out to me that Daniel and Joseph in the Bible never had anything bad said about them. They had good names. But, look at the results of this "good name" that each of them had... it was the glory of God! When Daniel makes it clear that it is God that both gave and revealed the dream, the king responds, "Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery." It is with this intent that we must live--to glorify Him in all things. He exalts [gives a good name to] the humble, but He is opposed to the proud. In the case of both Daniel and Joseph, they had small challenges at times and big challenges at other times, but in each case, they responded with full submission and obedience to the ways of the Lord... honest, faithful, of highest integrity, no compromise, steadfast, immovable, wise, courageous, gracious, strong, etc. May He grow us in these areas as we pursue a good name for His glory.


Amber Noella said...

That's amazing!

"The LORD prepares everything for His purpose." -Proverbs 16:4-

Cry said...

"Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. . . . Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets."
-Luke 6:22-23, 26

Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” . . . So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.
-Daniel 6:13, 16

When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
-Genesis 39:13-20

Daniel Osborne said...

Perhaps I should have clarified a bit more. When I am talking about a good name, I am talking in the ultimate sense... a good name before the Lord. However, a good name before the Lord means that you are walking in His ways. This often results in a good name in the eyes of men. Even godless people value integrity. An extreme example... even people that are planning evil have people that they "trust". Yes, people may lie about us, but in the end, it is God who raises up and brings down. Joseph was honored in the end. Daniel is honored to this day as we read about his steadfastness in the Lord. Yes, Joseph ended up in jail... and yes, Daniel ended up in the lions den. We should not value our reputation over doing things God's way, but really... if we value our reputation, doing things His way means that we trust Him to take care of our reputation. That is His responsibility, not mine. My ultimate concern can't be for my reputation because that in itself would be sinful, but rather living completely for Him and trusting that He will do what is best. Even Christ grew in favor with God and man. While many didn't believe, many did... and His Father was glorified.

Cry said...

Actually, walking in the ways of Jesus usually results in being hated by men. I think American Christians have their theology all turned upside-down in how they think Jesus is and how they think people will respond to them if they are like Him. You would think that if you prayed for someone and they were brought back to life that people would thank you and praise you and love you for it. But when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead people sought to kill Him! And the servant is not greater than the master — as they treated Him, so will they treat us if we are truly like Him. You were talking about "pursuing a good name" and mentioning how Daniel and Joseph "never had anything bad said about them." I merely thought it seemed as if you hadn't read the full Book to get God's idea of what we should "pursue" regarding our names and what really was said about Daniel and Joseph — some lies, but some truth too about disregard for authority.

Daniel Osborne said...

I do understand your point... and yes, we will be hated by the world because the world hated Him. I am not attempting to give a full picture of this topic in this short blog post. God says that a good name is very valuable. When He says it's valuable.... it is! However, pursuing "a good name" is not ultimately in the eyes of men. I'm taking about... "Have you considered my servant Job?" type of "good name". I believe Joseph and Daniel both were in similar standing before the Lord. Disregard for earthly authority when it is against the ultimate authority of God is essential. I am not saying that things will be all fine and dandy... I am simply making the point that God's ways are always best and in living for Him, we can have a "good name". Our reputation is God's responsibility, our obedience is our responsibility.

I understand your point about Christ being hated... and He most definitely was; however, there were many that loved Him as well. He did grow in favor with God and man. The Jewish leaders did very much stir up the people to hate Him, but don't miss the fact that people were flocking to Him to hear Him teach! Don't miss the feeding of the five thousand. It wasn't the raising of dead men that caused the Jewish leaders to want to kill Jesus, it was jealousy of His ministry. The proper response would have been John the Baptist's... "He must increase, I must decrease." God exalts and gives grace to the humble. He is opposed to the proud.

I believe that if everyone lived according to God's Word, we would have true peace on earth. His instruction to us is to be at peace with all men as much as it is possible. It is understood that being at peace does not mean to compromise our relationship with the Lord in order to do so. Christ made that clear. However, we are supposed to be known as His disciples based on our love for one another. People like love. They like peace. They like honesty. They like humility. These are not characteristics that are "hated" by people. I am not saying that the reality of Christ and the gospel doesn't cause division... because it absolutely does. But, the life of a Christian ought to stir within others a longing to be like Christ so that we can say with John, "He must increase, I must decrease."