• Name Calling

  • LEA Weekly Devotional

    2008–2009 series: Red-Letter Days

    August 12, 2008


    Extended Reading: Romans 10:5–17 (NLT)


    Name Calling


    “For ‘Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ ” (Romans 10:13 NLT).

    Nicknames have nicked many names. In much younger days, when my hair was red, adults called me Red, except at the grocery, where the clerks called me Carrot Top. Taunters called me Eddie Spagetty, probably because they couldn’t spell. One neighbor, whose name actually was Nick, called me Fido because he thought I was going to the dogs. Anyway…


    What about you? Did you (do you) have nicknames? [It might be fun to share them with colleagues, if this is group devotional time. Or not.] Nicknames can be endearing or alienating, complimentary or condescending, sentimental or cynical.


    Name-calling has both appropriate and inappropriate roles. No, you definitely should not create names for your students—unless you’re prepared to hear some name-calling during a dinnertime telephone call from “Snarky’s” dad. However, name calling in proper context—Scriptural context—has a proper place.


    In Old Testament days, calling God God was a no no. His name was so holy that speaking it was deadly. However, in His mercy and grace, God provided a nickname of sorts: I Am (Exodus 3:14). And again, in God’s mercy and grace, He provided another name, this one with fewer mystiques: Jesus Christ. This name belonged to a visible Person, one with whom people could directly relate without unnerving distractions like burning bushes.


    Name-calling continues. Some use God’s name to cast a curse or express a disdainful phrase. However, God invites believers to do some good—and effective—name- calling. Those we teach need to know this too.


    Name-calling is necessary when it comes to salvation. Only one name works: Jesus Christ. You know it well, though reminders often are welcome. You teach it to your students. It’s the most important name they can know. And it’s the name of their best, most faithful, always forgiving Friend.


    Many names are embarrassingly forgettable. They may be at the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t to nudge them forward. Sometime they’re buried beneath so many layers of memory they don’t even make it to the tip. Not so, with the name of Jesus. Today’s reading says, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart” (Romans 10:8 NLT).


    Jesus does some name-calling too. He knows your name (nick and otherwise). He knows your students’ names. He has called you and them to faith. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 John 3:1 ESV).

    He also has called you priest, as you are called to serve with and among the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9). Someday He will call your name for dinner—the holy, endless feast.


    Call yourself blessed!



    Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.

    Director of Publications & Communications

    © 2008 Lutheran Education Association



    Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.


    Scripture quotations identified as ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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