A Good Name

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“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.”

–Proverbs 22:1

 

When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I remember wearing a blue jean skirt and being at the grocery store with my mom and dad on a Wednesday night before going to church. While we were standing in the checkout line scanning our necessary groceries for the night, I had a simple request for my parents. Could they please buy me a pack of Winterfresh gum? Maybe we were in a hurry, or maybe they just knew I really didn’t need a whole pack of gum for myself. Their answer was no.

I wanted some gum so badly that night. A pack of the Winterfresh gum ended up in the pocket of my blue jean skirt. Thinking I was being pretty sneaky that night, I didn’t say anything to my parents about the gum all the way to church. My parents dropped me off in my children’s class as they went to their own Bible study. Feeling a sense of accomplishment for stealing the gum that I so badly wanted, I pulled the pack out of my pocket and started sharing it with my friends in class. When my mom and dad came to pick me up in my room, the teacher sung my praises to them because of how well I had shared my gum with all of the other children in the class. BUSTED!

I don’t recall exactly what punishment my parents gave me that night, but I definitely know that it included a little humiliation as I walked back into the grocery store that night with a half eaten pack of gum to tell the store manager that I had stolen it earlier that day. As a small child, stealing from a store wouldn’t have just given me a bad name to those I stole from, but my parents were probably also slightly disgraced that their sweet, innocent daughter just committed a misdemeanor.

Now, I know that stealing this pack of gum didn’t ruin my reputation for the rest of my life, but I remember how awful I felt making the walk of shame to confess my sins that night. I have definitely defamed my name in many other ways over the past 28 years. At one point in my life, I believed myself to be a “good” person. I tried to do all the right things at the right times. However, lately I have been well aware of my filth, the wickedness of sin, and my unworthiness of the grace that Christ shows me.

My reputation has always been something that I have tried to protect, maybe not when I was 5 years old, but since my teenage years I have attempted to guard my “good” name. When I went off to college, my reputation became all the more important to me because I couldn’t lean on my family’s good name anymore. I didn’t have my parent’s name to fall back on anymore. It was just me, Jill. I kept trying to make the name Jill good. When people would hear my name, I would want them to be reminded of all the respectable things I was known for.

Just last week, I attended the funeral of my husband’s grandfather. At his funeral service, a friend of his spoke about a good man. The stories his friend told were very memorable and treasured in the hearts of many, but one thing stood out for certain. My husband’s grandfather did not have just a good name. His name constantly pointed others to the name of Jesus. How many of us can say that our name reminds people of our Savior? Our reputation exemplifies the cause of Christ? It made me think about how I want people on this earth to remember me. The fact is, I don’t want them to remember me. I want them to talk about my Lord and Savior. I desire to have a good name only if it means people see Jesus in me.

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