Importance of a name
A recent lunchtime conversation helped me learn a small bit of United Presbyterian Home history. At one time the streets in that part of town were unnamed and cottages were numbered consecutively as they were built rather than by geographic location. That made life difficult for mail carriers and other delivery people. Naming the streets became an issue – prophets? something else biblical? Finally the discussion settled on something neutral, the trees for which those streets are now named.
Shakespeare asked the question first: “What’s in a name?” It IS important. For example, are you a “janitor” or a “maintenance engineer”? The difference can express itself in terms of authority or self-esteem.
Often ancestors or older family members are honored by naming a newborn with the same name. In some cultures, there is a traditional pattern for naming children after particular members of the family.
Many names in the Bible are carefully chosen or even changed to reflect a particular trait of that person or a desire for specific circumstances related to a person. Many Christian groups believe that God calls us by name. Because of that they incorporate a child’s name into a baptism or dedication.
If God knows our names, it follows that we are intimately known in many other ways by our Lord. And as fully as we are known by God, even more completely are we loved by God (in spite of what God knows about us and our behavior).
I challenge you to “Take the Name of Jesus With You,” as the old hymn tells us to do. If we think of Jesus first when we are deciding what to say or do, we can hardly go wrong.