For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun? A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. (Ecclesiastes 6:12-7:1)
There are many things of great value in this world but nothing compares to the worth of our name. We received our name by virtue of birth without our knowledge or choosing. The name given to us was inscribed by our parents identifying who we are throughout the ages. A name describes the personality of who we are. It becomes the identifying mark of our personality, our legacy and our future. History is filled with names that tell stories of heroism, courage, evil, intellect and leadership. My name bears the same imprint upon the hearts of others.
The Bible is filled with names. Adam was the first name given as a man of the earth. He called Woman Eve because she was the mother of all living. A few times the Lord changed the names of His faithful servants. Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. The Lord on occasion instructed the parents what to name their children. Hosea was used as an example of God’s dealing with Israel through the marriage to Gomer and naming of his children. Both Jesus and John the Baptist were named by God before birth. Saul the persecutor became Paul the apostle. Names tell stories.
My name is who I am. Contained within the kernels of my life my name becomes my identity of character; good or bad. It is reflected on by others with favor or disappointment. Sadly our names are often trifled with in our lack of self-control or rebellion. Honor is granted without prejudice to our names until we tarnish that name by foolish actions. Sometimes it can never be fully repaired. The names David and Bathsheba are eternally connected with a moment’s reckless folly (see Matthew 1:6).
If I accomplish nothing in life but to have a good name I have attained a great honor. So often we spend our lives trying to find something we had in the beginning: self-value. We want to be known in the public arena or famous for some accomplishment. These pursuits often cloud the judgment of truth and righteousness failing in the end to give honor to our name. The wise man reminds us the greatest worth in life is to have a good name rather than the riches of this world. What is inscribed on monuments of marble reflects the life we live.
The final reality of our name is what it means to God. There is a book the Holy Spirit describes that is filled with names. This exclusive book has only one set of names: those who are saved. Nothing in our eternal nature is more important than having our name penned on the pages of the Book of Life. If our name is not in this book there is no joy. The name given to me by my parents will be uttered by the voice of God saying, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Isn’t that going to be so exciting when our NAME is uttered by the mouth of God? Saved. Thank God for His salvation.
Tigers die and leave their skins; people die and leave their names. ~Japanese Proverb