“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.”       – Ecclesiastes 7:1

We all want to start out well in life, don’t we? If we think of our lives as races, we want to start off strong, determined and ready to tackle the path before us.

But some of us have rough starts. Maybe it is the dysfunctional home we are born into. Maybe it was the death of a parent or sibling or maybe it was the verbal, physical or mental abuse… whatever the reason for the rough start at the beginning of some of our lives, we feel like we didn’t get our race of life started well.

Somewhere at the beginning of our race, we were tripped and have had a hard time recovering since.

I’m not sure what caused you to stumble early in your race but I want to encourage you with this:

“In the race of life, the start doesn’t matter as much as your finish!”

You may have tripped in the beginning….or maybe in the middle, but it’s okay. God has you and can still use you. Like a loving Father, He can pick you back up, brush the dirt off and send you back in. Don’t let the bumps, trips and mistakes of life keep you from running your race well and most importantly finishing well.

Whatever the reason you’ve struggled in your race, I want you to know this: There is always hope in Jesus.

Solomon shares that “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.” Ecclesiastes 7:1

In other words, it’s important to leave a good legacy and how we end our lives is better than how we began them.

Now there is one particular woman in the Bible who knows something about the importance of fine perfume…Mary of Bethany.

Despite the hardship she may have experienced with the passing of her parents earlier in her life, she carries a “good name”.

When we hear “Mary of Bethany” we remember how she “choose the better thing” and sat at Jesus’ feet rather than fuss about dinner preparations. Our what about that time when she anointed Jesus’ feet not only with expensive perfume, but also with her tears, Mary ran her race of life with passion and purpose.

Mary of Bethany lived her life in such a way that her legacy still inspires Christians to this day. Mary of Bethany has a “good name” and her legacy lives on well after her death.

“I tell you the truth, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:9

Now lets contrast Mary of Bethany’s name to that of Judas Iscariot, the very one who got upset with Mary for “wasting” the perfume on Jesus and instead stating she should have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor…even though he was the keeper of the money bag and would help himself to whatever was donated. (John 12:6)

Judas sounds like he may have had a good start at life. He was given the name “Judah” which means, “praise”, when he was born. This important name belonged to the royal tribe in Israel. But despite his great start at life, he ends up taking some wrong turns along the way and ends up finishing his race by being paid to betray Jesus and ultimately ends up taking his own life. Judas’s name is ruined because of how he ran his race and the choices he made along the way. He took what started out as a very honorable name and made it one that is despised.

Two different names, two different races, two different legacies.

While we don’t always want to focus on death, the fact of the matter is every one of us will one day die. What legacy is your “good name” going to leave behind? One that tells the story of an amazing God and the mighty work He did through your life? I sure hope so!!!!

Sweet friends, how we run the race of life matters. The day of our deaths is better than the day of our births because while we can’t control how our lives start out, we can choose to focus our lives on the Lord and run for His glory.

Let’s Talk: Share with us someone in your life who has run his or her race well. What choices did they make in their lives to result in them having a “good name” and leaving a powerful legacy?

Love God Greatly!





Week 5 Challenge:
In your journal, write down how you’d like to be remembered. What type of legacy would you like to leave behind? What steps do you need to take today to move toward building that legacy?

Week 5 Video:

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Week 5 Reading Plan:

Week 5 Memory Verse:

Angela Perritt

Angela Perritt

Angela Perritt is the founder and director of LoveGodGreatly.com, a nonprofit online Bible study ministry reaching thousands of women in over two hundred countries around the world with God’s Word through their translated Bible studies. She and her husband live in Dallas, Texas with their three daughters. Angela is passionate about God’s Word and believes one woman in God’s Word can change a family, community and ultimately a nation. Her greatest joy is to encourage her children and others to love God greatly with their lives one day at a time. You can connect with her on Instagram.

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