2007-05-15 / Religion

Ministerial Article- - - - - - - - - - - -

- Ministerial by Benjamin Miller

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1)

I remember my childhood fondly. I was brought up in a good home, around good people. I had some of the dearest friends a boy could have too. We might play football in the front yard for hours, or we might just contemplate life's meaning while riding our bicycles down the road (with no helmets and no worries about sexual predators, by the way). I loved the people that I had the privilege of growing up around, but there was one particular neighbor that I always admired. He was everything I wished I could be: tall, good looking, out-going, and athletic. Yet my childhood impressions meant little in the overall scheme of things.

You all know people whose names conjure up a bad taste in your mouth. Our lips pronounce their names as if we had taken a bit bite of a green persimmon. My childhood friend was this way. He was the unfortunate product of a family with a bad reputation. And he was never able to overcome it. It would be easy for me to blame society, as we are so prone to do today. But in reality, I know, as I hope you do, that our lives are not bound by someone else's name. We are in control of our own name.

If there's one thing I desire to impart to the younger generation, it is the necessity of building and maintaining a good name. I have always tried to stay out of trouble as much as I could. I wish I could say to you that my fear of God was my motivating factor, but in reality it was that I did not want to let my family down. I knew I would get caught, and it scared me. But in a day when the moral laxity of parents has reached an all-time low, there are no inhibitions to destroying your name. "It's no big deal. They need to sow their wild oats." It

HOMECOMING is a big deal! I want to ask you how you remember these wellknown Bible character: Rahab, Jonah, Samson, Gideon, even David. These characters did many things right. How do you remember them? David was Israel's greatest king, a man after God's own heart. Yet we complete the sentence of David's life with one proper noun, Bathsheba. God forgives, but the world seldom forgets. Your actions now are important to the name you're building.

The writer of Proverbs says that a good name is more valuable than great riches. I never understood that as a child, but it is clear to me now. My name is who I am. When people hear my name, they immediately have an image of the man that I am. And so it is with each one of us. And it does matter what people think of you. Who knows whether or not one day you will be called home to preach.

It is important that each of us strives to keep a good name before the world. But if you are anything like me, you've soiled that name too often in the dregs of sin. Your name has been tarnished, and there seems to be no hope for rebuilding. Here's the good news: I serve a God who specializes in the giving of a new name. He gives us new names because we are new creations through faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it is His opinion that matters the most anyway. So I want to ask you a question. What do people think about your name? Most importantly, what does God think about your name? You are not bound to that name. There is freedom from sin and life more abundant in Christ Jesus. We all need Him. Will you experience that name change today? It is within your power to decide.

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