A good name is better than precious ointment…
These brothers were very influential in their large family, but their influence came in different forms. The older brother had really made it in the world, and everyone referred to him as the rich uncle or the rich nephew or the rich son. He had no shortage of family members running to him when they needed financial help, and it made him feel good to be in that position. The younger brother did not have two nickels to rub together, but he also had family members running to him. What they sought from the younger brother was guidance, wisdom, and compassion. We can say that the older brother was sought for what he had while the younger brother was sought for who he was.
We are all known for something. Sometimes we can be known for rather innocuous traits such as being silly or habitually late. Other times we are known for things that truly cut to the heart of our character. This short passage touches on just that. There was a time when people held nothing so important as a good name because the value of a name determined so much in their life. Especially for those in small communities, a bad name could really limit one’s opportunities. For the Christian, the idea of having a good reputation speaks more about whether we carry the godly character we should. The true value of a good reputation is that it is the natural fruit of a good character.
Solomon was a man of immeasurable wealth, but he knew that his riches did not matter if his character was lacking. He was not made to be known for what he had, and he knew that his wealth should not and did not define him. What was worth more than that was being a person of good repute. Solomon is still known today for being incredibly wise and just. The legacy he has left for us is that wisdom, and that is a reflection of the godly man he was. Those riches are long gone, but his wisdom continues inspiring us today. Father, help us to continue building godly character, to be known for how well we reflect You in this world.