I love it when major milestones are reached at pretty much the same time – it can make for interesting moments of reflection. I’m in the midst of one of those moments.
On Tuesday, Murf and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. This godly woman has lived and served with me on three continents – truth be told, she was planning on doing Missions work way before I came into the picture. It has been amazing to go through life with her, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. (The picture shows me feeding her M&Ms at our reception – most people have to pay big money to have monogrammed candy at their wedding, but I was happy to see that our initials came standard. :-))
Thirty years (and lots of gray hair) later, I’m enjoying holding our first grandson Corban. He will remain largely unaware of the significance of next Tuesday. At less than 2 weeks old, the little guy will probably be doing what he has been doing for the previous 12 days – eating, sleeping, …uhhhhh…evacuating, and making faces that cause all of us to smile. We’re new to this grandparent gig, but we can already tell that it’s going to be a blast!
Murf and Corban have more in common than genetics. Each of them bears my name. Murf chose more than 30 years ago to become Mrs. Mike Gaston, oddly enough with very little hesitation. Corban Michael Marmol will realize one day that his parents chose to honor me through his middle name – a fact that I learned just a couple of hours after his birth, and which prompted a major meltdown on my part.
They bear my name. MY name. On today’s Sabbath hike, I was thinking about the significance of that phrase. It’s an honor, of course. But I also see it as a huge responsibility.
You see, I want it to be a good name, one that they are proud of and never regret sharing with me. Scripture says a good name is better than riches (Proverbs 22:1) and precious ointment (Ecclesiastes 7:1). It’s valuable beyond measure, and not to be treated lightly or taken for granted. It’s also incredibly fragile – I have seen good names tarnished forever by one indiscretion, one act of selfishness, one “let your guard down” moment that resulted in pain to family and friends.
A name is good when it brings to mind the good character of the one it represents. The name of Jesus is powerful not because the five letters have some kind of magic in them. That name represents the Person, in all of His perfection and power and love and grace.
I don’t pretend that my name will ever compete with His. But I do want it to be a good one. I want it to be good because it brings to mind a man of integrity and faithfulness, who loves the Lord, his family, and his neighbor. A man who does justice, loves kindness, and walks humbly with his God (Micah 6:8).
The lovely woman who bears my name has been depending on that for 30 years. My grandson is just getting started. And I am motivated more than ever to be that man. Your prayers for me in that direction are appreciated.