What is Your Inheritance?
Moonbeam, Gandolph, Honey, Melody, John…
There are three specific names a man is given in his life. These names will have an effect on him. If he maintains his name and does not change it, a man can affect the aura of his name and what it comes to mean.
The first name a man is given is his last name. The name he inherits, his family name. It is said that the best inheritance a person can leave is a good family name. To keep one’s family name untarnished should be the goal of all good sons. To make it stand out as one of honor is the responsibility of every generation. During each generation a family name may end up having more influence later than when it began. Take for instance Gates. This name, as all names, has a particular amount of influence. Yet, once it became associated with Bill Gates (Billionaire), the name carried even more influence. Other such names could be Kennedy, Carnegie, or Ford. Of course, influence is not necessarily a good thing. Imagine having the family name Manson, Bundy, or Hussein. These are names that became rather infamous for their murderous lineages. Life can be very hard because of a name. Life can also have many blessings because of a name. Perhaps this gives understanding to the foundation of the saying, “It is not what you know, but who you know”. Multitudes once flocked to the name Obama when it was popular so they could reap the benefits of “who they knew”. After it became apparent the name Obama was not so advantageous with which to be associated, the same folks flocking to it were distancing themselves as far as they could from it. The following Biblical passage comes to mind: Job 19:19 – All my familiar friends abhor me, And they whom I loved are turned against me. Yes, the family name can wield influence, but ultimately, it will be defined by the third name discussed in this article.
The second name a man is given is the name his parents choose for him. Parents often try to choose names they feel signify success: Jordan, Barak, George, or Reagan. Others choose names to make a statement. Consider the following: Heaven Lee Gates, Summer Salters, Crystal Shanda Lear, Adolph Hitler, and Arian Nation. Yes, these are all names folks have chosen within the last decade to make a statement in their children. Of course, it appears some statements are made out of fun, but others are quite a bit more serious. There is a song that was sung by Johnny Cash entitled “Boy named Sue”. Because of the name Sue, the man with that name had to deal with a lot of grief. The name a parent chooses for their child should go deeper than trying to make a political statement or get a good laugh. In the scriptures there are a great number of names with deep meaning. Consider: Adam (man), Methusaleh (He died and it is sent [the flood]), Noah (comfort, rest), Abraham (Father of many), and Immanuel (God with us). Of course, these names were the essence of who these men were. As with a man’s family name, the name a parent chooses for his child is most ultimately defined by the third name given to him.
The third name a man is given is the one he gives to himself. The name a man builds for himself is based upon a multitude of actions, yet, one moment, one action can redefine how a man is known. Many know the name “Joe Wilson” now because he yelled out “You Lie” when Barak Hussein Obama made an address to congress regarding the issue of health care. Some people, based on that action, may hold the name of Joe Wilson as a strong voice willing to denounce falsehoods at any level. Others may now hold the name in a negative light, not because Mr. Wilson spoke the truth, but because they associate it with a lack of civility. Apologies can be made, but sometimes that will never take away the association with the action. Judas was an apostle of Christ. For this he should be known for many good and wondrous activities. Unfortunately, his betrayal of the Savior of mankind completely overshadows any good he might have done. Yes, he returned the money he took for such a heinous deed, yet, this did not remove the consequence of tainting his name forever. A good name takes much work and cultivation throughout a lifetime. It takes diligence to keep it respected. No man keeps a good name through a life of ease and slothfulness. His words, his kindness or lack thereof, his industriousness, his success and mistakes, these are the type of items which will determine the character of the name he wears.
How have you built your names? What do they represent to others? If you have children, what inheritance are you leaving your children with your names? How will they treat the names you give them? Do they understand the importance of keeping a good name? Do they understand they are the authors of what their names will come to mean? Impart to them the wisdom of Solomon: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).
What does your name mean and what do you want it to represent?