Friday, October 28, 2016

A Good Name

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.”
Proverbs 22:1
What’s in a Name?
I can’t imagine what it would be like to carry the burden of an infamous name.  Imagine if any of us had been born a son or daughter of Charles Manson, or Lee Harvey Oswald.  Can you imagine growing up and having to explain over and over… “Yeah, Charles Manson…he’s my dad.”? In public interviews, Rachel Oswald Porter & June Oswald Porter, daughters of Lee Harvey Oswald, detail what life is like living with the legacy of their infamous father. 
Another father, Isidore Heath Campbell gained national infamy in 2008 when he insisted that a baker spell out his son’s full name on his birthday cake. This became controversial because the child’s full name is Adolf Hitler Campbell.  Why?!?!  What was this parent thinking?

My Own Inheritance
I’m very proud of my name.  My father gave me a good name…as did his father give him.  We both share the middle name of David, after the Biblical King.  Dad entered the ministry in 1959 and retired in 2005.  After being retired for a year, he re-entered the ministry and served another few years until health issues forced him to retire completely. 
Growing up, I remember feeling proud that I was the son of Norman Patton.  Not simply on Sunday mornings, but also at many a Friday night High School Football games as my father’s name would be spoken over the public address system: “And now, leading our invocation is Norman Patton, Pastor of First United Methodist Church.”  And then would come my father’s distinct voice: “Let us pray…”  Countless times, I would introduce myself to someone and hear the reply: “Oh okay…You are Norman’s son!” 
Never was my father’s name anything to be ashamed of.  He gave me a good name. I likewise desire to give my sons and daughters a good name.

Jesus Jr.
According to Biblical record and traditional accounts, Jesus, the son of Mary, begotten of God by the Holy spirit, never took a wife, nor bore any offspring.  Yet, I suggest to you that he has given us, through our adoption into the faith, a Good Name.  Have you ever thought about that?  As members of the Christian faith, we assume the title of “Christian.” 
Acts 11:26 tells us that followers of Jesus were first called Christian at Antioch.  The Greek word for Christian, Χριστιανός, is best transliterated as: Christianos, and is perhaps best defined as “follower of Christ.  Χριστός (Christos), meaning “anointed one”, and an added descriptor -ιανός (-ianos) which is a Greek diminutive which carries in this case essentially a double influence upon the word it is attached to.  Effectively, it renders Christianos to mean: “Little follower of the anointed one.” 
History tells us that the term was initially meant as a derogatory reference used against the early followers of Jesus.  However, it came to be cherished by the followers themselves as a badge of honor.  We can almost hear the echoes of those sneeringly jeering at the early Christians… “Oh look!  Here comes one of those little followers of the ‘anointed one’…”  To which, the body of believers eventually came to essentially respond: “Yes.  Yes, I am a Christian.” because they came to realize that they had been given a GOOD name. 

The Name Above All Names
Philippians 2:8-11 reads:
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [a]on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As a follower of Christ; a bearer of His name, I feel the weight of responsibility upon my shoulders to live up to His good name.  I feel the responsibility to live before my children, as well as those younger than me in the faith, and the non-believers of this world to imitate as well as I am able to the life and example of Jesus, for it would grieve me deeply should I cause anyone to stumble in coming to follow Jesus themselves, or hinder his or her growth in the faith.  For they too, have been given a Good Name in the resurrected Son of the Living God…and I dare not cast a stain nor dispersion upon it.


Almighty God, guide my steps.  Set a guard over my mouth, and lead me in your way.  You have given me a good name, an honorable estate, a place of esteem in this world that I hold so dear.  Help each of us, O God, to ever live in such a way as to bring you glory, and show others the loving Christ for which we are named.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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