Make the Most of Your Name

The name of Judas has become synonymous with "traitor."


About twenty years ago, I received a phone call from a Mrs. Ima Peace from Magnolia, Arkansas. She watched our worship services on television. She invited me to come to her church to deliver a lecture series that she had endowed.

I told her that I had a policy to be away from Frazer for a preaching mission only once each quarter. She asked me when I could come, and I told her it would be four years. She said, “That will be fine. I just want to stay alive until you get here.” I then asked about her age, and she proudly said that she was ninety-two. That put some pressure on me.

Lynn and I went to Magnolia four years later. Mrs. Peace came to the airport in Shreveport to meet us. She had us staying in a nice bed-and-breakfast. She gave Lynn an envelope with two $100 bills and said that she wanted her to buy something in Magnolia. That had never happened before or since!

Mrs. Ima Peace still lived by herself. She insisted we eat one meal with her, which she cooked. It was delicious.

When I inquired about her name, Ima Peace, she proudly told me that she was named after one of the daughters of the 20th Governor of Texas, James Stephen “Big Jim” Hogg. She smiled and told us that the Governor had two daughters – Ima and Yura. She was glad that she was named Ima!

I didn’t know if she was kidding. Governor Hogg did have a daughter named Ima, but most people thought Yura was just a fictional character created by writers unfriendly to the Governor. Mrs. Ima Peace was proud of her name!

Each of us needs to be proud of our name. A Nova Scotia man has been told that he cannot use his vanity license plate, which bears his surname, “Grabher,” because it’s socially unacceptable.

It’s special to him because his son, Lorne Grabher, had the vanity plate made especially for his father in 1991, but now the Registry for Motor Vehicles has informed him that he can not use the plate anymore because it sounds like “Grab her.”  Grabher has challenged the ruling because he says, “My father always instilled in us that we should be very proud of our name.”

You had little to do with the name you received, but each of us has everything to do with whether or not we are proud of that name. And, more importantly, that we make other people proud of that name.

Whatever your name meant in the past, we need to make it good for the future. The very mention of a person’s name places a picture in the mind of everyone who hears it of what that name has come to mean. A good name produces good images. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be more desired than great riches. Favor is better than silver or gold.”

There are two Biblical characters who could have made something good of their names but failed miserably. Jesus picked “Judas” to be a disciple, but his name became known as “traitor.” Paul selected “Demos” to help him, but Demos left him because “he loved the present world more.” Met anybody lately named Judas or Demos?

What will you make of your name?

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