What’s In A Name?


     Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.


     When you and I were born however long ago that was, we were given a name. Our first name was how our parents intended to address us directly. Our middle name, often based on a relative (father or mother), or whatever sounded best to our mother’s typically, then our last name.  Throughout my life I have met several other men and boys having the same first name as I, but I have rarely, outside of my family, run into or met a stranger with the same last name as me. 

     You see, our last names are the names that tell a story,  my name ( Stoddard)  is believed to have originated in Europe around the time of William the Conqueror whose cousin bore the name in his title. It is said the name means “standard” or “the standard bearer”.  As it is recorded in history, the earliest record of my family’s name was the name of the standard bearer of William the Conqueror who would stand in the center of the front line and hold the banner of the army and also of its leader with great pride. This was considered to be a great honor as it was intended to inspire the troops to know which way they were to march, to rally around the symbol representing their cause, but  also so the enemy could see the banner of the approaching army lifted high and confidently so as to strike fear in the heart of the enemy.  This tradition is still carried out in our modern militaries today, though not directly in battle.   

     You, my friend, have a name that is meaningful to you and your family as well with a no doubt deep and rich history behind it. Perhaps your name came from an occupation or a trade your forefathers practiced. Whatever the case it has been handed down through history to you and yours.  Today the history of our names may be relatively unknown, or lost to the past,  but it is a name your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on have built a reputation of and it is what your name represents to others around you and who know of you now.

     King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live was inspired by God to write the book of Proverbs as well as other books of the Bible. He was also one of the wealthiest kings in all of history, yet he says that over possessions, notoriety and fame, silver and gold (money), he would choose to have a good name or reputation if you will. Perhaps my friend, somewhere along the line a relative damaged or ruined what was once a proud name or reputation. Are you and I working toward or striving to build back or maintain our reputations by having a good name?

     There is also one other name to consider that was given to us (those who have been born again), and that name is “Christian” which means Christ-like or to be like Christ. God is also concerned about the reputation of His Son’s name. Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”  What does this mean? God intends for us to behave and to strive to be like His Son, Jesus. It also means that God is not directing you and I toward anything that draws us away from him or that would bring a blemish or shame to the precious name of Jesus.  If you have been born again (trusted Christ as your Savior), you have been bought with a price and have been given the responsibility of representing the name above all other names, JESUS! 

     There have and no doubt are people who claim the name of Christ and yet they continue to damage and tarnish the name “Christian” the world over. It would be good for you and I today to stop and consider our ways and measure them with the bible and see if our reputation truly is Christ-like.  Let’s determine to be honorable banner bearers for Christ and his kingdom and lift high the name of Jesus for his honor and glory. Let us think about our actions and especially our words and weigh whether they give our Lord’s name a good reputation or a bad one. We know what God desires, he desires us to follow his paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Let’s protect the name of Christ and let’s lift high and waive his banner proudly in our lives. His name is worth it and he’s given his name lovingly to us to carry on until his return.