by Kirk Talley
In 2001, Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks, offered WGN Chicago Radio sports-talk host David Kaplan $50,000 to change his name legally to “Dallas Maverick.” When Kaplan politely declined, Cuban sweetened the offer. Cuban would pay Kaplan $100,000 and donate $100,000 to Kaplan’s favorite charity if he took the name for one year.
After some soul-searching and being bombarded by e-mails from listeners who said he was crazy to turn down the money, Kaplan held firm and refused Cuban.
“I’d be saying I’d do anything for money, and that bothers me. My name is my birthright. I’d like to preserve my integrity and credibility,” he explained.
Likewise, “Christian” is the birthright of every child of God. We have a responsibility to live every day in a way that brings honor to that name.
“Christian” is a name that encompasses family blessings.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).
Paul earlier wrote that all spiritual blessings are found in Jesus Christ — the family of which all children of God are a part (Ephesians 1:3).
Christian is a name that also denotes belonging. When the disciples tarried in Antioch, those who observed their ways saw that Christ’s disciples lived…like Christ! To sum up what the observers saw, the name “Christian” was given to Christ’s followers (Acts 11:26).
When one was living as the Savior lived, he would be labeled “Christi-like” or “Christian.” It is the same today. When we live for the Savior, we bear His name. We don’t wear the name Baptist,
Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist or any other man-made name, because those names do not exalt and reflect Christ, but rather some man and his earthly doctrine.
At the 1993 annual meeting of The American Heart Association, 300,000 doctors, nurses and researchers met in Atlanta to discuss, among other things, the importance a low-fat diet plays in keeping our hearts healthy. Yet during mealtimes, they consumed fat-filled fast food (such
as bacon cheeseburgers and fries) at about the same rate as people from other conventions. When one cardiologist was asked whether or not his partaking in high-fat meals set a bad example, he replied, “Not me, because I took my name tag off.”
Don’t attempt to justify wrong by simply “removing the name.” If needed, change your ways and give your life back to the Lord and truly walk his walk and carry his name in humility and with thankfulness.
Kirk preaches with the Southwest church in Austin, Tex. This article was published April 26 in the church bulletin “The Southwesterner”.