“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
Jesus taught us that a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions, and this verse from the Proverbs of Solomon reveals one thing that is more important than money and possessions – a good name!
There are many people who have gotten ahead in this life at the expense of their own reputation, aka “good name”. They got the position they wanted in the business, company, organization, even sometimes in the Church, but they lost the respect of those around them because of the sneaky, dishonest, or downright immoral means they used to get that position. This begs the question – they may have gotten the position they wanted, but did they really “get ahead”?
The problem is that this world would have us believe that we cannot be both virtuous and successful. We say things like, “Nice guys finish last,” but the truth is that those who have been promoted by dishonest means may have gained position, prestige, and wealth, but they have lost so much more. The rungs of the ladder they climbed are made out of relationships they have broken and virtue they have cast aside. In the end they’ll have a full bank account, but an empty life.
People often take the dishonest route because they feel there is no other way to get ahead in life. Fortunately, God has provided another way. Jesus teaches that “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12). Therefore, if we, in our places of work, will determine to be content with our work, uncomplaining towards our bosses and peers, willing to see others promoted, and honest and upright in all our dealings, then God will see to it that we get the promotion we deserve in due time. The new saying should then be, “Nice guys start last but finish first.” For Scripture tells us that a man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from heaven (John 3:27).
In light of this, bear in mind this encouragement from the Apostle Peter: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Looking further in Proverbs 22 at verse 4 we find a promise: “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” So, if you will commit to honoring God with your work ethics and policies, and commit to serving others within your workplace, you will not only find a promotion in your work, but also a full life and a good name.