What’s in a name?

When my daughter flew to Florida for a week of work on NASA’s solar probe (parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu), my husband and I went to Maryland to help out with the grandchildren. Three young boys can exhaust two old grandparents, but we had a lot of fun with trips to the library, restaurant, community center, and pool, plus making and breaking a piñata. The boys like competition, so we also played plenty of board (but not “bored”) games.

Each day we slowed down for “storytime.” We focused on one grandson’s name and looked each one up in the Bible to learn the background of that child’s name.

For example, my grandson Anderson’s name literally means “Andrew’s son” so we studied the life of that apostle. I asked the boys how they would feel being left out of the “inner group.” Over and over Jesus spent extra time with Peter, James and John. Andrew could have been irked that Peter got to be in the inner circle. After all, Andrew was the one who first introduced Peter to Jesus.

I asked my grandson how he would like to always be introduced as “Elliott’s brother.” In the New Testament, Andrew is almost always identified as “Peter’s brother.” Again, the disciple might have resented this moniker and gone off in a huff.

But the fact that Andrew did not get upset said a lot about the apostle’s character. The name Andrew means “strong man.” “Strength” does not necessarily refer to physical power but strength of character. I challenged my grandson to follow his namesake’s example.

Later that day, Anderson climbed out of the pool to sit beside me. He grinned and said, “I’m a strong man.”

You and I carry the name of Jesus when we call ourselves Christians. Are we living up to all that name means?


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