Ecclesiastes 7:1 – A good name is better than precious ointment: and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
At the outset of reading this verse one might think Solomon has lost his mind. What does he mean that the day of death is better than the day of birth? Well, he is certainly not suggesting that the death of life is better than the birth of life. In fact, he’s saying what is said about you at the end of your life is better than what is said about you at the start of your life. That’s where the first part of Ecclesiastes 7:1 comes into play: [Therefore], A good name is better than precious ointment.
We are admonished to live our life in such a way that at the end of it we will be remembered for our good character. According to this verse our character is far more valuable than any other value someone places on our life.
It would do us some good to stop every once in a while and consider our character. Am I living out good character where I work, in my marriage, with my children, and around my church? Let me give you five principles of good character:
Never underestimate the character trait of punctuality. Our consideration toward others with our time and their time is so important to having a good name. Commit yourself to be on time for work, church, appointments, etc. Don’t hold your spouse back. Don’t waste the time of others. Meet your deadlines as given to you. No excuses. Be punctual!
Honesty is essential to having good character, but it’s not just about telling the truth. It’s about being transparent. The kind of employee that is honored and trusted is one who constantly and clearly communicates with his or her supervisors. Refuse to cover up, deceive, and mislead. Be a person of a good character. Be transparent!
When I think of one who is reliable I think about their ability to complete all the tasks given to them. They’re willing to go above and beyond what is required or expected. An individual who is reliable doesn’t leave task unfinished. There is a tremendous peace to those who delegate responsibility when they know that those taking that responsibility have the character enough to do the job right! Be reliable!
This is basic, but we should certainly take note. A person with good character will have moral integrity; a tempermeant that works well with others and exercises self-control; a blameless reputation that seeks godliness in all areas of their life. Integrity is the foundation to good character. Think about this: everyone has character (good or bad) and everyone has reputation (good or bad), but not everyone has integrity! Feed your inner man with the fuel of God’s Word as you strive to be a man or woman of integrity.
This is such an important part of good character – teachability. People with good character are willing to learn. They’re not “know-it-alls” who are constantly interjecting with an arrogant and argumentative spirit. They humbly desire the wisdom of God, to learn from every situation, and acknowledge that there’s so much they don’t know rather than boasting about how much that they seemingly do know. Be teachable!
The best legacy you could leave is the legacy of a good name. May we strive to have good character whoever we are, wherever we may live, and whatever we may do.