"A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold"
Throughout life you will be tempted to surrender your good name for a short-term gain – maybe a boyfriend or a girlfriend, maybe profits, maybe prestige or power. Whatever compromise is required is not worth it. Your good name and your best approximate at righteous integrity is more important than any short-term gain.
In fact, your integrity will guide you by keeping you out of deals that will in the short-run launch you, but in the long-run rob you of real joy and peace.
People will try and get you to compromise your high standards, to lighten up, to loosen up, to live like everyone else. But we have watched countless numbers of singers, actors, politicians, and businessmen go that path to their everlasting sorrow. They have shrunk their soul for a short-term material gain.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul? Go for soul wholeness and not the short-term solution.
favor is better than silver and gold
The word favor is the word to grant a favor or to be gracious toward. It is used of God in being gracious to sinners. The word, therefore, carries with it the idea of being placed in a position of favor even if one does not deserve it.
This proverb states that it is better to have others place you in a category of favor in their mind than to have a lot of money or possessions but have no one think well or favorably of you.
There will be many times you will be tempted to cut off a friend or colleague for a short-term gain. It is not worth it. Life is relationships. If your relationships are a mess, your life is a mess. You have to have people give you grace and place you in a favored position.
Think through the implications of this proverb and act upon the truth. How do you gain favor in the eyes of your spouse or your employer or your friends or your children? It is these small actions you take that are the crucial building blocks to a great life. It is also your turning away from some material blessings in order to retain a good name that is required to have a great life.
I think of how many men and women have been seduced into giving all their time and energy to a job and regularly missing time with their children. Will those children be impressed with the overtime pay or a new job title? No, they want a parent who has time for them.
What would it take for you to have a good name in the eyes of those closest to you? There is a priority order to love. It starts with God and then moves out to spouse, then children, then colleagues, Christian friends, friends, and then society in general. There is a lie in our culture that being famous is extremely important. But being famous usually deals with the last priority group.