What’s in a Name?

I have a name, you have a name. Alive or inanimate; everything and everyone has a name. Our name most likely fits who we are, not because it was the perfect choice when those who named us assigned it but because over time those who get to know us can’t help connecting who we are and what we look like with it. What’s in a name? Nothing until that name is attached to someone or something.

I have lots of names.                                                                               

David or Dave or John or John David or John David Peever or Peever or the Peeve or Pastor Peever or Pastor Dave or PD, or Gampa or Poppi or Honey or Dad or Pops… There are a few names I have missed and a few more that I will not repeat. Whether the name is repeatable or not the name used is based on my relationship to the person who is using it. Just by reading the list of names you can probably guess the depth of the relationship between me and the person by the name they use.

Those who know my name(s) don’t necessarily know me.

A name is an identifier, a way refer to something or someone without having to use a description. Your level of familiarity with the item or person may change the name you use but the fact you know a name commonly used for it or for them does not mean you know it or them well. You may know of them, you may have even met them or used them (just to clarify people are met not used, at least in my world) that doesn’t mean you know them or it fully. Just because you know the name doesn’t mean you know enough.

I am called by the name that best fits our relationship.

Most people call me Dave although there are a few acceptations. My wife and my mother call me David, I am sure this says something about my wife that she will vigorously deny. In my wife’s defence, she refers to me as David but rarely calls me David. Instead, she calls me Honey or Hun (not Attila). The hospital, when it is my turn and my mother when I am in trouble, summon me the same way by using my full name, John David Peever. Some of my ID has J David Peever some has John Peever. One son calls me Pops, the other two call me Dad. One grandchild calls me Gampa the other calls me Poppi, the remaining two don’t call me anything because they can’t talk yet.

I want my name to be more than just a name.

If you know me as a friend you probably call me Dave. Hopefully this name means I am trustworthy, always there, caring and much more.

If you are my son or daughter-in-law hopefully when you call me Dad or Pops it means loving, supportive, always there and much more.

If you are my grandchild I hope that when you call me Gampa or Poppi it means crazy, troublemaker, goofball, but also loving protector and whatever else makes you feel loved.

If you are my wife I hope that whatever you call me you see me as your best friend, lifelong partner, lover, protector and all the other things you associate with a great husband.

If you see me as your pastor, I don’t care if you call me pastor or Dave or PD, I hope you see me as an example, a friend, a sinner saved by grace, a mentor, a friend, as someone just like you who cares about what you are going through.

In the name of Jesus.

It just roles off the tongue of most believers. It appears to have no assigned meaning but instead it has an assigned purpose or place. Like finishing a letter with yours truly or best regards, in the name of Jesus seems to be the polite way to end a prayer. It’s just the way things are done and always have been.

What is often missed when we pray out of tradition is the reason that it became tradition in the first place. Just as my name means much more than just a title so does Jesus’ name. His name like my name is His reputation, it identifies who He is without having to go into lengthy descriptions. When we pray in His name we place our requests under His reputation as perfect. We are recognizing that our prayers are answered according to His perfect will not our imperfect demands.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13 (NIV)

Asking in Jesus’ name is the way we place what we ask for under scrutiny of Jesus’ perfect will for the glory of God.


  1. One of my best friend’s growing up was named Jon David. Growing up in the Southern US, he went by Jon David, but dropped the David upon middle age. Your picture of nametags features Wilbur. I apologize, but the only Wilbur memory is on the old TV show Mr. Ed. I get a mental image and my brain goes down the wrong rabbit hole.

    This was a good post. I pray that I exhibited the love of Jesus enough for most people to remember my name in that light.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like your concluding sentence. (It counteracts the notion of “in the name of Jesus” being tacked onto the end of a prayer as some sort of magic words that might guarantee a personal wish being granted.) Nicely written!

    Liked by 1 person

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