How much does it mean to you to have a good name? Does it mean more to you than having success in this world or wealth or a large ministry? Without reservation, I say it should.
Most people want success in life. Of course, we define success in different ways. Not everybody is preoccupied with money, fame, power, or mega ministries. But however they define it for themselves, most people want to realize success in their life. A potential danger is that one can become so preoccupied with reaching success that he is willing to do just about anything to get there. But God calls us to be people of integrity.
There is no measure of success that justifies prostituting our good name. The Bible puts it this way: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1, NIV). According to this verse, God puts high value on having a good name. We should do the same.
This verse does not mean God sees great riches or silver and gold as evil. But time and again, people in the news affirm that these things have a powerful draw on us. The desire for material wealth is like a drug that can drive people to devise diabolical schemes to advance their cause and to exploit others. Sad but true, even some ministers of the gospel have gotten high on this drug. And God is saying we should value our reputation above any opportunity or desire we have for material gain or wealth.
Oftentimes, the world operates on the idea that the end justifies the means. But it doesn’t work that way in the Kingdom of God. As Christians, we should always evaluate our actions in terms of their impact on our reputation. In times when we are not sure, we should err on the side of caution. When we are of this conviction, God will cause whatever we do to be blessed. Equally important, His blessings will never cost us our good name.
If we agree with what God is saying here, taking unethical shortcuts or stepping on others or breaking the law to get ahead can never be a part of our plan for success.
We need not waste our time praying about whether we should embrace such strategies. God has no part in these. They are but the arm of flesh.
God’s way always esteems the honor of one’s name above all worldly success. Let us do the same.
Frank King is pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Hinesville Korean Full Gospel Church, 758 Tupelo Trail, Hinesville, GA, 31313.