When it comes to the names we’re given, I’m glad God puts more thought into it than some parents.
John Tierney once ran a contest for bad baby names. He got more than 1,000 entries of real names. There was Charman Toilette, Chastity Beltz, Wrigley Fields, Justin Credible, Candy Stohr, and Tiny Bimbo. I suppose Brook Traut had good reason to name his daughter Rainbow, but the dad who named his daughter Emma Royd should be shot.
The winner of the contest? Well, how to put this? Iona is a pretty name, but the mother really didn’t think about how it would sound when paired with the family name—Knipl. Before taking her husband’s name, she said that every time she introduced herself the typical reply was, “I own two.”
I’m reminded of a scene from the 70s sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati (yes, I really am that old). Les Nessman was a slight, balding, bespectacled newsman for the radio station. When he met a young, handsome repairman, the exchange went like this:
Nessman: Steel, is it?
Hawthorne: Yeah, Steel Hawthorn.
Nessman: That’s a nice name.
Hawthorne: Thanks. I like to think that a person’s name says a lot about the type of person he is. What was your name again?
Nessman: [pauses] Les.
Parents may give their kids a name they have to live down, but God gives us titles to live up to! This wonderful truth is on my mind as I’ve begun a study through the life of Gideon. When the curtain rises on the tragicomedy of Gideon’s life, we see him threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding from Midianite marauders who had had their way with Israel for years. And yet when the angel of the Lord appeared before him, the angel said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
He cowered in a winepress, yet he was a mighty warrior in God’s eyes. And he eventually rose to the man God knew he could be.
Have you ever thought about the ways God has named you in Christ? For a start, how about…
…Overcomer (1 John 5:4)
…Holy (Colossians 1:22)
…Free (John 8:36)
Do we live up to these titles? Not yet, not always. But, like Gideon, he calls you up to and in to the character he knows you can become.
(The sermons in this series will be posted online at www.hillcrestaustin.org/sermons).