Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
My son Noah loves his Xbox. Used to love his Xbox 360 but that is “so yesterday” since he got his Xbox One for Christmas. He’s pretty good at gaming. The game that has captured him right now is something called “Destiny.” Some of you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about but others are nodding your head in solidarity. The other day he was playing this game and I decided to try my hand at it. I signed in to get a “gamertag” which is your online identity. It assigned me “FloralSeeker” with some numbers behind it which I can’t remember at this time. Now keep in mind I’ve never played “Destiny” before but I wasn’t about to play it or any other game for that matter with the name “FloralSeeker!” This is wrong on so many levels. So Noah said, “You can change it once for free.” Game on!
Now I had to decide on a gamertag. It had to be epic! And no numbers behind it. Absolutely no numbers. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through this before but it’s both an exercise in creatively and futility. To try to come up with a name that had not been thought of by one of the 400 million gamers in the Microsoft universe is pretty much impossible. Noah and I did our best. “EpicWarrior”….taken. “GalacticMaster”…taken. “TitanofSteel”…taken. Thirty minutes and 100+ attempted gamertags later and “FloralSeeker479” was starting to sound pretty good.
But then I had a stroke of genius. I had to think like someone in my profession. I realized there probably aren’t too many pastors playing these games. So I combined my vocation with my son’s favorite game and landed on “DestinyPreacher!” Score! What? How could no one have thought of such an epic gamertag? And with NO numbers! Seriously there is no better name out there! But then Noah snatched me back into reality. “Dad you don’t even play. Your name doesn’t match your gameplay!” Ouch! Harsh but true.
Names are important. But living up to your name is everything.
Names are important. But living up to your name is everything. We often pick out names for our children because they are cute or popular. Maybe it’s a family name and we want to honor that person and pass it on. But if were honest we give little thought to the meaning of names when they are given. Not sure what the parents in the Scripture were thinking when they named their son Nabal which means “fool.” Thanks mom and dad. But if you’ve ever read 1 Samuel 25, he definitely lived up to it.
The wisdom of Solomon declared, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1) There’s something in the mind of God about the importance of naming people. He changed Abram’s name which meant “exalted father” to Abraham which meant “father of a nation.” He changed the name of Jacob which meant “deceiver” to Israel which meant “God’s warrior.” Now there’s an epic gamertag! These name changes were God’s invitation to a new calling and his vision of who they would be. Now they had to live up to the name.
These name changes were God’s invitation to a new calling and his vision of who they would be. Now they had to live up to the name.
There’s an incredible reminder about names from the Apostle John late in his life. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) If you have responded to the love of God expressed through the death of Christ and received his gift of salvation then God has given you a new name: “Child of God.” Even better gamertag! Now that this is our name, we live up to it.
We want our gameplay to match our name. Everything that God is, we want to be. Everything that God does, we want to do because we carry his name. God loves, God gives, God helps, God serves. God is full of grace, truth, compassion, justice and mercy. This should be our character and movement as well. This is who we are. We don’t always do it perfectly. And God doesn’t change our name when we fail. But we strive to live up to our name because of who gave it to us and what it cost him to do it.
So as we go out to do what we do, as we go to school or work, into the neighborhood or to the grocery store, let’s not think of ourselves as Scott, Dan, Sue, Becca or Brody. For a moment forget FloralSeeker479, WisdomWarrior286 or DestinyPreacher. Our name today is “Child of God!” Let’s live up to it.