Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's in a Name?

On television, we will see ads to encourage us to see who was in our family tree, maybe someone famous, an inventor, or a rascal.  Although all the members of our family are diverse in personality, abilities, and callings we still belong by blood.  We don’t get to pick out our families; many of us probably wish we could.  I admit my family tree has a few rotten apples in the bunch but who doesn’t.  They have the ability to keep the chaos going, so it’s never a boring day.  Nevertheless, do they ever think about the impact of their lives upon the family name? 
     One of the greatest disadvantages of growing up in a small hometown, everybody knows everyone.  Although, my adolescence was probably boring in comparison to my peers, my mother still got a daily report of my whereabouts the night before.  My life was so exciting.  I worked a part-time job, played volleyball, went to school, and participate in church activities.  If I got ice cream at the town's malt shop, my mother would find out.  Somebody would always find out.  Since my mother works for a credit union in town, she daily hears the town’s gossip.  News travels faster than the speed of light where I grew up.  Sadly, many people’s lives have been destroyed with horrible gossip.  Forget if you were innocent, the town’s gossip could plow your name into the mud.  It’s a tragedy to think about how many lives have been destroyed with the tongue.  Some of these people’s lives have been spread through the fire, leaving nothing but ash.
      On the other hand, some of the information can be true.  My parents would always advise me to avoid this family, they were nothing but trouble.  People will always associate your family’s heritage by your name.  It’s a sad statement but true.  Although our lives our just a breath on this earth, our names will be always remain.  Your life will have a paper trail somewhere in the government, even if you did nothing illegal.  Someone will look down the family tree to discover you, what do you hope they find?  Or don’t find?  It can be a challenge to overcome a heritage of a bad name but don’t let it get you down.  Choose to make a good name for yourself; someone might follow  your lead.
Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
     Have you ever thought what you would want on your tombstone?  Or what do you hope people will say about you at your viewing?  Please don’t worry, I am not planning to die tomorrow or have a deadly illness.  But this thought is challenging me to evaluate how I live my life.  All I what to be said about me, “Tina Wetor was a preacher who preached the whole truth of God’s Word and she lived her faith before God and man.”  “She was a loving wife and mother who lived the Gospel before them.”   If these statements are spoken about me, I will be blessed. 
     A few years ago, I read a wonderful book about a woman preacher in the 1800’s.  One of her great-great-great grandchildren decided to look up his family tree.  Much to his surprise, he learned about his wonderful grandmother who was a healing evangelist in her era.  She impacted so many people with the Word of God and the miraculous healings within her ministry.  The grandchild discovered the church she planted was still active, so he went to visit.  The pastor of the church was healed through the anointing of his great-great-great grandmother. The pastor shared with him all the details of his miracle but what happened next is astonishing.  The pastor, who was healed by this woman of God, led her great-great-great grandson to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The story touched me so it made me cry.   That's what I desire, may my name be discovered so if someone doesn’t know Christ, they can find eternal life. 
     Since I am the first generation Christian on my father’s side, I am challenged to start a new legacy-a godly one.  Although my family and I have made committed sins, it’s only in Christ we can stand forgiven.  My past has some blemishes, painful scars, and horrible deeds but it has been washed away through the nail scared hand of Christ.  There is a new name written down in glory and it’s mine.  Oh, yes.  It is mine.  Is yours?  Don’t allow your family’s heritage to scar your life but challenge yourself to live a legacy behind.  Someone needs to take the lead, why not you?