What’s in a Name?

A name tag with "Ronald Reagan" written on it.


Names are important. Everybody has one. You don’t choose your name, but you choose what your name will mean!

There was a teenage boy who rode his bicycle to deliver groceries to the homes of people. One couple moved into the small community and availed themselves of that opportunity. When the boy delivered the groceries, the man of the house thanked the young man and asked, “What’s your name?”

The boy said, “My name is Ronald Reagan.”

The man was somewhat impressed and said, “You surely have picked a highly recognized name.”

The young man said, “I didn’t pick the name, but it ought to be recognized because I’ve been delivering groceries in this community for the last three years!!”

Sometimes people have famous names and want to preserve that name for the future. Tom Brady, the famous quarterback for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wanted to trademark his name, “Tom Terrific.” He immediately received outrage from the fans of “Tom Terrific” Seaver, the hall of fame pitcher for the New York Mets. New York Mets fans made it clear that Tom Brady would be cheating on the name of Tom Seaver and vowed to keep him from getting that trademark.

A few years ago, a self-described “engineering geek” wanted to name his son “Jon Blake Cusack, 2.0.” The new dad did not want to use the name “Jr.” or “II” because that was too common. He wanted a software approach to naming his newborn son.

The new baby was born at Highland Community Hospital in Michigan. The mom conceded that she had picked out the theme for the baby’s room so she let her husband name him “Jon Blake Cusack, 2.0.” The Cusack’s sent out an electronic birth message announcing the new addition, stating, “A lot of features from version 1.0 with additional features from Jamie.”

Sometimes things are given names without realizing the meaning of the names. Those who selected the name Nevada apparently didn’t realize they were naming a sun-bleached desert area with the Indian word meaning “snowed upon.” The name Montana means “mountainous,” but Montana is almost entirely high plains. On the other hand, Wyoming means “large plains,” but has two mountain ranges. The Farmer’s Almanac reports that almost half of the states have names connected to Indian names.

There are a lot of names – but Paul writes, “There is one name that is above every name, the name of Jesus.” (Phil 2:9) It is the most beautiful, powerful, awesome name we can say. David writes, “Holy and awesome is His name.” (Ps. 111:9)

A powerful worship song is entitled, “What a Beautiful Name.” It talks about how nothing can compare to the wonderful name of Jesus. It says, “You have no rival. You have no equal. Now and forever, God you reign. Yours is the kingdom, Yours is the glory, Yours is the Name above all names.”

I love the old hymn, “Take the name of Jesus with you; child of sorrow and of woe. It will joy and comfort give you. Take it then wherever you go.”

What does your name communicate?

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