Monday, December 5, 2011

My Nickname

Do any of you have a nickname? I have one but no one ever uses it any more. My nickname was given to me by my Pony League baseball coach, Coach Tim. He was the coolest coach ever and was a young version of Morris Buttermaker of the Bad News Bears. I played for him back in 1979, just a couple of years after The Bad News Bears came out. I watched a few minutes of it a year or so ago and did not realize how rough the language was. Coach Buttermaker used to cuss like a sailor and drink beer during practice. Coach Tim used to let us chew tobacco during practice and the games and we were only 13 or 14 years old. Those were the good old days! But back to my point.

My nickname was given to me by Coach Tim one day during practice. He was hitting balls to me in the outfield and I kept missing them. He finally yelled to the team "If Lamar misses this next fly ball I will start calling him Looper." (Funny how you never forget some things in life!) Looper was the kid in the Bad News Bears who could not catch or stop the ball. I would tell you to watch the movie bus as I mentioned it is pretty rough! My point in all of this is that we do not choose our nickname. We are typically given nicknames by people who observe us and our actions and then find a name that fits.

As I was reading the other day I came across a passage that describes a group of people who were given a nickname.
Acts 11: 25, 26 - 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
As I thought about that passage I wondered if I have ever been nicknamed a Christian by anyone or if I am the only person who thinks of myself as one. In the passage above it was not the disciples who called themselves Christians but it was those who were observing their actions. They did not ask to be called Christians, they did not have a public relations or marketing team trying to come up with a trademark name or a cool name that would eventually catch on. They were given the nickname based on what those around them observed. They were living a life that modeled the teachings of Christ.

I guess my question is are we busy trying to convince others that we are Christians based on what we say about ourselves or are we living out our faith letting others around us give us an appropriate nickname of Christian? There is a big difference between the two.

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