Monday, April 30, 2012

How's your name doing?

As you can see, I’ve had this book for a very long time. It’s been well loved (Also couldn't help show off the little nest with eggs our granddaughter made for us).

The book lists names, their literal meanings, and suggests character qualities and scriptures that might align with these characteristics. We used it to help select our children’s names, and I’ve turned to it repeatedly to gather information to make gifts for others. Sometimes, I’ve consulted it to help develop fictional characters.

Long ago, someone wrote, “A good name is more desirable than great riches…” (Proverbs 22:1). I’ve been thinking about what it means to have a good name. And how in this culture, a good name can quickly slide into disfavor. As a pastor’s wife, I feel I’ve lived the last decades of my life in a fish bowl. I’ve had other people besides family live with me many times from durations lasting from a few days to a year. It often seemed that everything we said and everything we did was on parade for the world to see.

In this new season of our lives, even with the nest empty, it really still seems that way, because now I’m posting on the internet every few days. So, in doing some research a few days ago, actually looking up a word definition, just clicking away, I was confronted with something that offered me an opportunity to post a link on my Facebook page. I was one click away from that happening. It was a link to an apparently ugly article that put a spin on the innocuous word I was researching.

I’m telling you, it scared me. I could just see my Facebook wall with my name and a link to what promised to be a crass article. The Message says, “A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich…” (Proverbs 22:1). It’s important to guard our names, our reputations, because a good name can’t be bought.

Luke 12:3 says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” I believe God calls us to live our lives so that at any moment, if all were to be laid bare, we’d having nothing of which to be ashamed.

It’s definitely a challenge.

But one worth taking.

So, be careful out there. Be watchful of the ways the enemy of our souls is always on the prowl trying to trip us, to steal our good name. And if you’re in ministry, as Bible teacher Beth Moore says, you “move into the cross hairs.”

There’s a message in counseling that says, “Secrets keep you sick.” They do. So if you’re feeling shame over some indiscretion, it’s best to find a trusted spiritual confidant or pastor and confess. Let God cleanse you for the road ahead.

What is in a name?

Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that for the Hebrews, names, “generally expressed some personal characteristic, some incident connected with the birth, some hope or wish or prayer of the parent; and henceforth the child embodied it, and for the parents sake felt it like a personal vow, and made his life an effort to realize it.”

For the Hebrews, a name was more than just how we distinguish one person from another.

The literal meaning of my name means “dweller at the beaver meadow.” The character quality assigned is “persistent one.” My parents didn’t know that when they named me.  I found it in this little book I’ve had for so long. In my life, I've encountered some really difficult circumstances, and I've at times struggled not to give up. But, I remember what my name means. It helps me to keep going. Someone once said about me that I reminded them of the Energizer Bunny. That’s okay with me.

I feel my Heavenly Father assigned my name to me for a reason, and for His sake, I want to be that persistent one He’s named me to be.

If you don’t know about your own name, there are still a few of these books available used through online sources.

May God bring much encouragement to you through this research.  And may you guard that good name He’s given you.

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