Does Your Name Matter?
I really resisted listening to podcasts for quite a while. I have terrible internet at home, so it held me back. However, my employer put Wi-Fi in the breakroom some time back and my resistance began to fade. I listen to all sorts of shows now. One of my favorites is Freakonomics Radio. While I walked today at work, I listened to their latest offering, a rebroadcast of How Much Does Your Name Matter?
I’m not crazy about my name. There is a simple reason why. I was named after my dad, so my name wasn’t my own. It’s not a terrible name, or anything, but within my family it wasn’t unique. In fact, I was dubbed “Little Larry” early on. I must have been called this more than I knew because when I was asked my name in kindergarten, my response was “Wittle Warry.”
Did it affect me further? As I look back, yes, I think this did affect me. I always felt inferior to my dad. He was Big Larry and I was just the little imitation. He was the alpha male and what I was called helped to reinforce that, even if it was just subconsciously.
Names seem to have mattered in the Bible. Jacob was a trickster who lived up to his name. God, though, worked through that and changed his name to Israel. An entire nation, ethnicity and faith group trace themselves back to this man.
Jabez was born and his mother named him. It must have been a rough childbirth because Jabez literally means pain. How would you like to go around life being reminded multiple times daily that you brought your mother pain when you were born.
There are other instances where someone began life with one name only to have it changed later. Peter began life as Simon, but he became a rock. The Lord blinded and knocked Paul off his horse. He went on to become Paul. Barnabas was called this because he was an encourager. These men’s names made a huge difference in their lives, as well as others.
Does a name make a difference? Does yours? Does mine? The results of the Freakonomics Radio episode lead us to believe that, in fact, that one’s name does not really affect our lives. And maybe they don’t between you and me and the rest of the world. But…..
Isaiah 62:2 and Revelation 2:17 seem to indicate that God had a new name for us. My holy imagination likes to think that this is the name He has written in His book of life. We won’t know until we reach glory. Whatever name the Lord calls us, it’s the most important name we could be called.
While we’re here, you can call me Larry. You can call me Deuce. You can even call me brochacho.
Do you put any stock in the power of a person’s name? Do you like your name? What would you like to be called?