ODJ: smelling good

October 29, 2014 

READ: Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 

A good name is better than fine perfume (v.1 NIV).

Quite a number of my friends wear fragrances. But before long, the fragrance wears off and they have to spray on more to continue to smell good!

What happens between two important dates in your life determines whether your name will be an alluring fragrance or a repulsive stench. The dates are your birth, when your parents named you, and your death, when your name will appear on a death certificate. This is well illustrated by two people in the New Testament.

Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with an expensive perfume (Mark 14:3). Its fragrance filled the house. Jesus said that her name would be honoured (v.9)—and it is. Judas, however, betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins (Matthew 26:14-15). At birth he was given a good name, “Judah”, which means “praise”. But by the time Judas died he had turned that beautiful name into something despicable and despised (John 18:5).

“A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). That’s why Solomon reminded us to “choose a good reputation over great riches” (Proverbs 22:1). He wasn’t telling us to stop using perfume. Instead, in asking us to “[think] a lot about death” (Ecclesiastes 7:4), he called us to move from a life of artificiality to authenticity, from hypocrisy to integrity. By our attitudes and actions, we create the memories that will be associated with our names in life . . . and in death.

Solomon encouraged us to leave behind a legacy that’s authentic, positive, unforgettable and lingering. As Proverbs 10:7 says, “We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.” Yes, perfume fades, but the aroma of our lives lingers on. —K.T. Sim

365-day plan› Acts 14:1-28

What does Paul say about the fragrance that we’re to spread to those around us? (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). 
As a Christian, one bears the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14-16). How are you striving to live in a way that honours His name? What should you change to make sure you possess a good name?