Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What's in a name?

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me...I know we've been friends for a long time.....but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is." Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes, she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"

Names are very important in our society. In fact, it is usually one of the first things we ask or offer to each other when we meet someone for the first time. Sometimes we even make assumptions about others based on their name. For example, would you rather fight a guy named Stacy or a man named Mad Dog? (By the way, there really is a man named Mad Dog out there. He did some work on my parents’ house once. The name is really on his driver’s license. Just ask my mother if you don’t believe me.)

Sometimes we acquire nicknames because of something we have done or by some way we have acted. I have had two nicknames while in college, one was given to me when I attended North Greenville College, and the other was from my days at Erskine College. Both were given to me by others due to something I had done. My friends from college still call me by one of those two names.

When I first came to Edgefield, a man asked if I had been to visit a certain sick person in our church. The person who asked, however, didn’t use the sick person’s real name. I asked who he meant, and he could not think of the sick person’s real name. He always knew him by his nickname.

In the Bible, names are equally important. When people in the Bible had a life changing experience with God, their names were often changed. Abram, which means “high father”, was changed to Abraham (father of a multitude), Jacob (supplanter) was changed to Israel (having power with God), and Simon (God has heard) was changed to Peter (rock), just to name a few.

Their names were changed because they had a change in their heart. They were new people, because of what God had done for them. What does God call you? What would your nickname be to the world right now? Would you be called a Christian or something else? Do you like the name you would be given or not?

Whatever your present circumstance and whoever you are right now, can be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. You do not have to continue pretending to be someone you’re not. Give your life to Jesus Christ and let Him give you a name that you can take with you to eternity. He will actually give you part of His name. You can be called Christian!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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