Naming Rights

History is full of well-known names, many times not because of something they did or accomplished, but because their name is on a physical place or building: Alexandria Library, Marshall Islands, JFK International Airport, Martin Luther King, Jr, Drive, Louis Armstrong Stadium, etc. How many children can tell you anything about the person behind the name on the building?

Just because your name is etched in stone does not mean that you will be remembered for the life you lived or impact you made. In fact, it is rather sad that some may only be remembered for the building, stadium or airport and not for something more meaningful. Even when money is given to build a grand edifice that bears the name of the benefactor, does that bring fulfillment in the end?

Where does the Christ follower fit in this world of name and prestige?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (Phil. 2:3-5)

In Christ, we give up our “naming rights”.

Recently, I received a message from a dear brother, who now lives in Europe. He was one of my husband’s spiritual sons, having come from a life in Islam as well as the family line of the Prophet, into a relationship with Jesus. He’s paid the price for his faith but has been faithful and continues to share the Good News with those from the same background. He told me: “We are thinking to name our church in *a country in North Africa* after your man, Raouf Ghattas.”

It makes me smile even now to think of it, but as I told him in reply: “I am so touched by the idea, but you know Raouf would never want a church named after him. He always pointed everyone to Jesus Christ.”

As I thought about this over the last few days, I realized that the best legacy Raouf could leave was not his name on anything, but new names written in the Book of Life.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

Raouf would never want his name written in stone. Instead, he would want the names of those who have come to know Christ through him written by the Spirit of God for eternity. That is a legacy worth having, and only one Name has the right to be proclaimed and remembered — the Name above all names — Jesus Christ.

Are you still holding onto your rights? What’s worth remembering?

Grace and Peace


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