At the close of the Civil War, a representative of a large insurance company offered Robert E. Lee the presidency of the firm at a salary of $50,000 a year. Lee replied that while he wished to earn his living, he doubted whether his services would be worth so large a sum. “We don’t want your service,” the man interrupted, “we want your name.” “That,” said Lee quietly, “is not for sale.” He accepted, instead, the presidency of a college at $1,500 a year.
In our focus verse, the word name conveys the idea of reputation or character. It implies that it would be better for a man to be robbed of his wealth than to be robbed of his good name. Material things can be replaced, but once a good name is lost, it can be very difficult to regain. There is tremendous value in building and maintaining a reputation that is above reproach!
For the most part, a man’s name is based on his character. A person has a good name, not because he has been successful in concealing his bad character traits, but because he is, in fact, of good character. His honesty and integrity have been proven time and time again.
As Christians, we are “ambassadors for Christ.” What care we should take that our actions never bring reproach to His name! Our honesty and integrity should be absolute and consistent.
The Prophet Jeremiah declared, “I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). He was saying, “I bear Your name.” Jeremiah’s life showed how seriously he took that privilege. In spite of opposition and persecution, he stood true to God. The realization that he belonged to God was a constant reminder to Jeremiah that he needed to reflect God’s character.
How about us? What value do we put upon our name? Do we maintain and protect it carefully? God will bless us if we do!