Character, Faces and Names

namesDuring a recent conversation, I was asked if I knew a certain person; I replied, “I know the name, but I can’t put a face with it.”  Names are used to identify, organization, warn, encourage, and to express hope.

The name and character of God was the focus of a Psalm that David wrote after the Ark had been recovered and returned to the Holy of Holies:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!  Remember His marvelous works which He has done…  ~I Chronicles 16:8-12

When a child calls out Mom or Dad, he is expressing trust and hope in the power and resources of his parents.  The same is true when God’s children “Call upon His name.”

Notice how the name of God is associated with His character:

  • Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you—Psalm 9:10
  • The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower—Psalm 18:2
  • The LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust—Psalm 91:2
  • The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him—Nahum 1:7

Whenever I discuss the name of God, I remember the words of Paul in Philippians 2:9-11:

God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I want to encourage you to follow the advice of an old gospel hymn, Take The Name of Jesus With You:

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.

Precious name, O how sweet!

Hope of earth and joy of Heaven.

Precious name, O how sweet!

Hope of earth and joy of Heaven.

What’s In A Name

Most people who know me call me by the shortened form of my name.  Although my birth certificate reads, Stanley Lee Seymour,  most people call me Stan.   An etymological search of Stan reveals that it is Old English in origin and means rocky meadow or from the stony field.

Etymology, however, had nothing to do with the selection of my name.  Because my last name starts with an S, Mom and Dad thought it would be trendy for the first name of each of their children to start with an S.  My older brother’s name is Steve and my younger brother’s name is Brad.

Before he was born Brad’s name was going to be Stuart, but Mom was already having trouble calling Steve, Stan and Stan, Steve, so Stuart became Brad.

I think recent events show the power of a name.  Due to the bankruptcy of 2001, the name Enron is associated with corporate greed.  More recently, investment scams have come to be associated with the name Madoff.

Within the last couple of days, a new association has been given to the name  Schettino.  Captain Franceso Schettino has been accussed of dereliction of duty and cowardice.  If he was an officer in the United States military, he would be court-martialed.

In each of these examples, the absence of character was present.  For every ounce of character that Captain Schettio lacked, a pound of it was present in the cockpit of another captain.

The name Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III or “Sully” is associated with courage and integrity.  When faced with tragedy, he made a quick assessment; and, he landed his jet on the waters of the Hudson River.  His heroic efforts made him a household name.

Even though he attended the Air Force Academy, his actions remind me of the Army Cadet PrayerMake us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.

The disciplined life that Sully developed as a cadet, was on display on that cold January day of 2009.   Each of our military academies provide a daily regimen that builds the type of character and integrity that defines Captain Sullenberger.

The absence of character and the decline of morals was the focus of study by the Institue for American ValuesIf a central task of every generation is moral transmission, religion is a primary force in American life — historically, it has probably been the primary force — that transmits from one generation to another the moral understandings that are essential to liberal democratic institutions. Religion is especially suited to this task because it focuses our minds and hearts on obligations to each other that arise out of our shared createdness. By elevating our sights toward others and toward ultimate concerns, religious institutions help us turn away from self-centeredness . . .

I’ve been told that character is an Old English word that comes from the print shop and means the mark left behind.  Schettino or Sullenberger, what mark defines your name?

Here’s a thought to keep you thinking:  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1).