During this past week in the classroom we have been discussing how we are expected to live our lives as followers of Christ.
Growing up I was known in our community by my last name as well as my mother's maiden name. These names carried a special meaning. My mother's father was well known and well respected as were my parents. To be known as their child or grandchild carried great weight and responsibility. In our church being know as "Dorothy's daughter" also carried great responsibility. There was a lot to live up to and it was (as is) with joy that I followed the examples set by those who went before me. One of the joys of my life growing up was whenever someone said "you're just like your mother or just like your father."
When I married, I took on my husband's name with great joy, although my maiden name was very special. My husband's name of Helmling carried great respect as well. My husband set a great example for his children of giving to others. His faith in our LORD was amazing and often he strengthened mine. It was with joy and pride I took this name in 1991.
Both of the last names that I have carried throughout my life have inspired me to be the best person I can be. They have reminded me of those who have gone before me and I often think, "what would______ do?" when deciding.
But neither of these names carry the weight of the greatest name I as given on my Baptism. I was given the name CHRISTIAN just six short weeks after my birth, when my parents took me to the Baptismal Font at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Buffalo, NY and Rev. Paul Barth Baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He asked my parents & godparents those important questions about raising me in the faith of our LORD. They not only answered they would raise me as a CHRISTIAN, but they raised me this way; not just in their words but in their deeds. My parents set the examples by their actions. They raised their three daughters with the "Do what I say because this is what I do" not the "do what I say not what I do" way of life.
One of the greatest differences with my earthly names and my heavenly name of CHRISTIAN is that while I have the earthly examples to follow, these are flawed individuals and people will attempt to tear them and me down when I use them as my only examples. However, when I fix my eyes upon Jesus I will be able to endure that which comes my way and not lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-3). While I may not always be accepted for following the path our LORD has laid out for me, I know that my name of CHRISTIAN will lead me to my heavenly home. The home the LORD has prepared for me (John 14:3-4).
This is what we have been discussing in the classroom. Our names in Christ are what makes us who we are. If we base our reputation on what Christ has told us and shown us to live, we will only have to answer to HIM.
As it says in Romans 8:31-32 If God is for us, who can be against us?
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School