Apparently, my folks wanted to name me “Sheryl.” But once my dad saw my dimples, he quickly decided I ought to be a “Sherry.” My middle name is “Lee.” I think that comes from my dad’s middle name of “Leo.” I was raised in the Catholic Church and chose “Mary” for my baptism name. When it came time to be confirmed in the church, I went with “Bernadette.”
So, technically, my real name is “Sheryl Sherry Lee Mary Bernadette Worel” (or Vorel as they say in the old country). I mention all that to draw attention to the importance of names.
In our message this past Sunday, Chet highlighted the name “Theophilus.” The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were both addressed to Theophilus. His name means “Lover of God.” What a cool name!
Theophilus was probably not his given name at birth. He was a Roman and, no doubt, had a prestigious family name to carry. Very likely, Luke gave him this Christian name. Perhaps as he sought to disciple Theophilus, Luke wanted to give him something to aspire to–a name that would suggest his personal focus and devotion. Maybe Luke was giving him something to live up to.
Apparently, at one time, our middle names were intentionally Christian names. Like Theophilus’ name, this practice gave people something to live up to–something that might reflect the character their parents hoped they would have. I am wondering if we ought to start up that practice again.
So, I have a proposition this week. Since our church is celebrating our newness in Christ (Romans 6:4) and choosing to lead through the Covid madness, maybe it’s a great time for all of us to give ourselves a new middle name.
Think about it. What character quality would you like to work on? What Christian value would you like to emphasize right now? What change would you like to make? What new middle name would suggest those things? Use your imagination or consult one of those books with all kinds of baby names. Find a character quality that matches your spiritual growth right now.
Now, I know we aren’t officially registering these names, but it is a great time to identify ourselves with Godly virtues. Let’s choose something that reflects the character of Christ. Let’s choose a name that will challenge us to be and do the things a true disciple does.
We all need new Christian names. What will yours be?
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.