Often in history, firstborn sons have been named after their fathers. John, son of John might be called “Deuce,” or William in the third successive generation might be called “Trey.”
My given name is Franklin Henry Ball, after my grandfathers, Frank Joshua Ball and Heinrich (Henry) Biehl. As a youngster, people called me “Frankie.” In the fourth grade, I thought “Frankie” was childish and preferred the name “Franklin” until one day, I walked with my grandfather downtown. On the street and in the stores, everybody cheerfully greeted him as “Frankie.” Since then, I’ve enjoyed being called “Frankie.”
Names are used in various ways—to identify who we are, who we would like to be, or how others choose to see us. In school, I had nicknames like Odd Ball, Frankfurter, and Red. Some teachers called me “special,” “smart,” and “gifted,” but one teacher called me “stupid.”
A name can suggest qualities we strive for—a good reputation that must be earned. We have biblical characters like Abram, Simon, and Saul who became Abraham, Peter, and Paul. Because of what Jesus did, because of the extent of his self-sacrifice, Jesus earned a name that the apostle Paul says is above every other name (Philippians 2:5–9).
This makes me wonder. What we must do for our names to have value?

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