What's in a name? I've always thought I'd like to change to a new name. Of course, I changed it once, 35 years ago when I became Mrs Swithinbank. And there was a new Mrs Swithinbank last Saturday - my husband took his nephew's wedding when Andrew Swithinbank married lovely Laura. If you peer at the photo carefully you can just see my husband and my son in the background; they are chatting to Miriam and she is due to become another Mrs Swithinbank next May when she marries Jonathan Swithinbank! Confused already? There will then be 5 Mrs Swithinbanks in our extended family. It's quite a name - one which has constantly to be spelled out especially over the telephone.
Names, and in particular family names, can assume great importance, whether for family inheritance or for business continuity. If the family name and line should die out there can be enormous repercussions. Look at Henry VIII's quest for a son to carry on the Royal line; and Princess Diana's "heir and spare."
But the Swithinbank name is assured for another generation - I have a little grandson, William Furnivall Stafford Swithinbank. A full four family names. He has a lot to live up to - his ancestor Furnivall was quite a character, friend to Ruskin, co-creator of the Oxford English Dictionary and apparently used as a model for Toad of Toad Hall. Namesakes are often important. Alexander the Great had a namesake, who unfortunately fled from a battle scene, and when the young man was found by the great Alexander, he was told, "Either change your name or live up to it!"
Some of us may love our names; others of us dislike them intensely or dislike what is associated with them. Or wish we had a different name. Some people simply change their names - apparently it's quite easy to do! Or this is fun: you can have a random re-name which promises something different - it came up with Sasha Swithinbank for me. Still thinking about whether to change!
So are we living up to our names? Because there is one name we each have that will never disappear. "As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear." (Isaiah 66:22, NLT) We are part of God's family. You are always His child, bearing the family name. It's not on your birth certificate, nor will it be on your death certificate; but it's written on your forehead - Revelation 14:1 "Believers will have the Son's and the Father's name written on their foreheads." It's a name that we each possess and which will last forever.
You are royalty - the child of the King of Kings. Are you living up to your name as a child of God?
What character traits are associated with your family's name, or what events or happenings?
What happens when your family all get together?
How does it all compare with being a child of the King of Kings?