Your name, what is it worth to you? The Scriptures tell us that a good name should be chosen above riches (Proverbs 22.1). Granted, some people do not care about their name, but others do care and work at keeping what their name represents: like values of honesty, or hard work. Yet some are not satisfied with the simple accomplishment of good work. The question is why? One possible answer is that they may believe they should be recognized for their work. Is there any better recognition than seeing one’s name on the honor roll, the dean’s list, on an office door, or to have a media outlet write an article about you? Consider this idea of name recognition, as we take a brief look at Genesis 24.1-67.
In this chapter, we have record of Abraham searching for a woman to be Isaac’s wife. Abraham wants the woman who will be Isaac’s wife to be found in Abraham’s old country and from among his family (24.4). This search for a wife meant much to Abraham, but Abraham was also concerned about finding the best prospect for his son. If Abraham had not chosen the right man to conduct the search, the results of the search could have been disastrous. So important was this mission that Abraham employs the talents of the one man in whom he has the utmost trust, the man who managed Abraham’s entire estate (24.2).
To be in such a powerful position of authority required at least two things: years to prove himself trustworthy; and always putting Abraham’s interests above his own. This position is one of renown, a position similar to that of Joseph before Pharaoh. Abraham knew that this man could be trusted, so Abraham sent him on the mission of his life: to find the prospective lady, and return her safely to Isaac.
The record of Genesis 24 proves that this man did nothing more and nothing less than what Abraham asked of him. But when we examine the record, there is one peculiar item – the man’s name is never mentioned. He was not recognized by name for the excellent work he did for Abraham and God. Remaining nameless as he introduced himself to the family he said, “I am Abraham’s servant” (24.34), this man’s attitude represents humility and servitude at its height. He does not seem to even care about his own identity.
If we do a job well done and are recognized, we feel good; if our name appears in print, it makes us feel that much better. Yet, it is possible to attach too much importance to name recognition. So much importance can be attached to name recognition that if one’s name is taken down, one may feel insulted and devalued. Name recognition may be important, but it is not everything. Sometimes we may pursue name recognition by living the saying: “If I don’t blow my own horn, who will?” But the lesson from Abraham’s servant – he did not toot his own horn, nor did he get name recognition, but he was The Man that Abraham could trust. The question is: are you the man that people and God can trust, regardless of name recognition?