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What’s in a Name?

I grew up in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio. I had just gotten my first car and it had great potential, but it was, quite frankly, a fixer-upper. It had leather bucket seats but the driver’s seat was in bad shape and needed repair. I took the seat to a local business and the craftsman looked at it and gave me a price. He told me that I would need to leave a deposit. He asked for my name. I said, “Gary Webb.” He looked at me and said, “Are you the son Gary Webb?” (I’m a junior.) I said I was. He then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t need to leave a deposit and that he would finish the repair for me in a few days. My father’s name was good. My father’s name opened a door for me that was not expected but was greatly appreciated.

Think of someone you know. What comes to mind when you think of that person? Perhaps you remember some kindness that they showed you. Maybe your thoughts went to how they hurt you in some way. Think even more about the person. What else comes to mind? More than likely, you’re reflecting on their character traits: compassionate, caring, kind, having integrity, devious, gentle, harsh, and so on.

Proverbs 22:1 makes a powerful statement: “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.”

We don’t use the term “good name” in our society much anymore. Instead, we use the term “reputation.” Reputation, according to Merriam-Webster, means an overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general.

What do people think of when they think of you?

What’s your reputation…

  • …in your home?
  • …with your coworkers?
  • …in the school you may attend?
  • …with your spouse?
  • …with your children?

How will you be remembered? What will be said in your eulogy? I would submit to you that your eulogy will be constructed with the same material that formed your reputation: your character.

Take some time to think. If you think you can handle the truth, ask some people what you’re known for, what your reputation is like, and what other people say about you.

If your reputation — which is built on your character — may not be what you would like it to be, then start today to make some changes. It’s never too late. May I suggest that you make those changes by building on the foundation of Jesus Christ and by being informed by the Word of God?

Regardless of our given name, we give it meaning by our character…or lack thereof.

A name truly does have great worth.

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Gary Webb is the Adult Ministries Pastor. He and his wife, Beth, were transferred down to Columbus from Toledo in 1988 while he worked for UPS. Gary worked as an engineer for over 12 years for UPS and Children’s Hospital. During those years the Webbs became involved at Grace. He joined the pastoral staff in 2000. Gary studied engineering (University of Toledo) and theology (Grace Seminary). Gary enjoys coaching, running, biking, swimming and hiking. Gary and Beth have three adult children and three grandchildren.


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