Names are a big deal. In the Bible they were frequently prophetic. In our time – they can impact how you get teased, who hires you for what kind of work and be the basis of your friends’ nickname for you – not to mentioned how your mother hollers for you when you’re in big trouble!
The name Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) became an inspiration and a whole marketing movement a while back – and suddenly everyone was aware of this obscure Hebrew Scripture figure who’s name meant “borne with pain” who despite this name was “more honorable than his brothers” and took the bold step of asking God to “bless him indeed and enlarge my borders.” I think this prayer is valuable – as is the living more honorably – but regardless – the way all of us who experienced that sensation hear Jabez differently now.
Then there are the names that the various prophets gave their children … like Isaiah’s two children “Speedy is the Booty, Speedy is the Prey” (Isaiah 8:1) or Hosea’s daughter “She has not Obtained Compassion” and his son “Not my People” (Hosea 1:6-8).
But here’s the more pragmatic question for today … what if your name became full of meaning by your conduct? Or to take it a step-further – what if your name became a verb? When Google was founded in 1998 – people thought “huh. what a funny name” but by the early 2000’s – Google became a verb – and now we can hardly imagine not using Google as a verb. In fact – I just googled Google’s foundation date – and I imagine I spend a fair amount of time every week googling various facts.
So – what about it? What if you were so submitted to God – and so in tune with how He’s gifted you to bless the world – that your name were a verb? For me – thinking about my name this way immediately clarifies the degree to which I am not yet as clear as I would like to be about WHO He created me to BE. But the idea fills me with humility and inquiry. And – I do not believe this is a question that is answered by defining or finding ourselves – but rather by peeling away layers of baggage, our Old Self as Paul refers to over and over in Romans 6-8 – and by standing ever more firmly in submission to “Thy will be done.” I believe it’s a matter of discovery and recovery – rather than self-determination because He’s already promised to give us a new name. (Revelation 2:17)