A person’s name is the most important word to him or her. In early history, most people only had first names. Last names originated when English nobles used the titles of their estates as surnames. The common people followed suit by using their trades as surnames. (e.g. – A blacksmith would go by the last name of Smith, and a baker would take the surname, Baker.) Some last names showed the father-son relationship. (e.g. – Wilson is a derivative of William-his-son.) As people immigrated to other countries, their last names identified them with their homeland. (e.g. – Wallace would be the surname of a person or family from Wales.) Now that there are so many people in the world, a person receives his parents’ last name by default.
More care is usually taken in the selection of a person’s first name, although some of the names parents have chosen make one wonder. If you were thinking about naming your next child Time Warp, Spring Fever, Precious Promise, or Fruit Stand, these names have already been taken—no kidding.
The Bible places much more weight on a person’s name. In many cases, the name describes its bearer’s character. Here are a few Bible names and their meanings:
- Daniel: God is my Judge
- Hananiah: Yahweh shows grace
- Mishael: Who is as God is
- Azariah: Yahweh is my Help
These men all lived up to their names. (Read their story in Daniel 1:8-20.)
If you are a Christian, you have an honorable name. It means “Christ-like”. Do you live up to it? Just as you take care with what you associate your name, so you should be careful with what you associate the name of Christ. See that He is pleased and His name honored in the places you visit and the things you do and say.
What’s in a name? More than you would care to throw away by a poor testimony. Determine you will walk worthy of the name of Christ today.
Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. — John Wooden
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.