What Is In A Name?

My father was hooked on old western movies! One of his favorite actors was Randolph Scott. So much so, he wanted to name my youngest brother after him. Luckily my mother intervened, somewhat, and he ended up with the name, Randall Scott.

Names are important. Whether you are stereotyping a group of people or calling someone a name to demean their character. Name-calling is usually derogatory. Such is the case found in Acts 11:26 “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” That “name” was used a term for mocking this new ‘sect’ of the Jewish religion. That attitude of cynicism has made a full circle and is now militantly being attacked.

My father told me that that having a good name was something to strive for. He said he could go into our small town and get a loan from any bank just because of his name. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches… Proverbs 22:1 Do you even care how those around you view your name? I’m not talking about the actual name. Mine is Gary which I share with millions in America.

A good name really speaks to your integrity. It’s about your reputation and the character you have inside. It identifies who you are from a moral and ethical standpoint. Essentially it is what you are all about. Three reasons why a good name is better to pursue than great riches:

  1. A good name provides stabilityWhen you have a good name people can trust you. That trust is a stabilizing factor in your relationship with them.
  2. A good name is eternalRiches are fleeting.A good name however is theoretically eternal. How many men and women of history are still being spoken of in a positive light? Wouldn’t it be special if that could be you?
  3. A good name brings loving favorThe ending phrase of Proverbs 22:1 says, “…loving favor rather than silver and gold.” People will love you for having integrity. They will appreciate you for showing kindness, mercy and attention to their needs. They will stand up and support you when you are bombarded with unwarranted attacks.

Live in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called: Eph 4:1

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A woman in Ohio  went to a yard sale and found a pendant that she just had to have. She paid $5 for the piece of jewelry in the shape and design of LeBron James’ jersey. She (and the person selling the pendant) assumed that it was just a fun costume piece with fake diamonds. What they didn’t know was that it was 14-karat white gold and had over two carats worth of real, glass cutting diamonds. It’s real value is $10,000 according to a gemologist at The International Gemological Institute.

But lets put a different twist to the story. Lets say you are at a yard sale and see a painting that you know is priceless but the price is only $10. As a Christ-follower, what should you do?

  • Do you inform the seller of the true value of the painting and offer to pay a reasonable price?
  • Or do you keep quiet and congratulate yourself on finding this treasure?

“The shopper says, “That’s junk—I’ll take it off your hands,” then goes off boasting of the bargain.”  Proverbs 20:14 (MSG)     If you choose to keep silent and not inform the seller of its real worth, is that not a form of lying? A form of stealing? At least, dishonest? 

We all should be good stewards of the money God has entrusted to us but should it be at another’s expense?

Two Basins

[Thanks to Pastor Carey Pratt who provided the basis for this blog.]

In John 13, we have the interesting story of Jesus’ washing the disciple’s feet.  The background is that it was the custom for those hosting a dinner to see that the guests feet were washed before the meal. Remember that people wore sandals not shoes as this time and their feet could become very dirty from walking the unpaved roads of Jesus’ day. It was the

basinresponsibility to see that a slave (or servant) washed the guests feet but for some reason there was none present.

No one, except Jesus, wanted to assume the responsibility of serving others. After Jesus washed their feet he said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” The example Jesus spoke of was not the act of washing feet but an example of responsibility to serve others.

Not less than twenty-four hours, we find another person using a basin. But this time, it is not the basin of responsibility but to wash hispilate hands FROM his responsibility. Pilate tried to release Jesus but the mob would not allow that. So, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”  He had the responsibility to see justice was carried out.

From these two accounts, that appears only two options for the true Christ-follower. Take up the basin of responsibility or refuse the responsibility of serving others.