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“What’s in a Name?” by Kitty Holt

Some months ago, I was assigned to work on a project with someone who shares the name of my late father.

My dad and I were very close, and I admired him greatly.  Although I grew up in a family of eight and my father made a very small salary, I was never in want.  I was a three-season runner in high school and my dad came to every race of mine, no matter the day or time, no matter where it was in New England or outside of New England.  He was also a runner and we ran many hundreds of miles together over the years.  He was also a hero in my eyes as he served our country in World War II and spent six months as a POW.  He was also incredibly smart: if you gave him a combination of 3-digit numbers to multiply, he could quickly and correctly multiply them in his head.  He was also an excellent speller and we frequently held impromptu spelling bees.

When a really good athlete retires, their jersey number is sometimes retired as well, as a sign of honor towards that athlete.  I felt in a way that my dad’s name should be retired since no one could possibly carry on his name. So how in the world could this guy (whom I had not met previously) share the same name as my dad?

The project went very well, and as I got to know the gentleman I was working with, I realized that he shared many of the traits my dad had: kindness, a sense of humor, intelligence, and diligence.  Indeed, he gave honor to their shared name.

My attitude at the beginning of this project got me wondering; I call myself a Christian.  By doing so, I am identifying myself with Christ.  In Philippians 2:9 we are told that Jesus has been given the name that is above every name.  We are told in Colossians 3:17 to do everything in the name of Jesus.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Paul prays that the name of Jesus may be glorified.

How am I doing at honoring His name?  What do my behavior, my attitude, and my actions cause others to think about the person and character of Jesus?  Am I sullying His name, or bringing honor to it?  Am I pointing people to Him, or pushing them away from Him?

May a desire to bring honor to His name drive our every word and action, and as Paul urges in Romans 12:1, may we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.  Amen!