Over the years I have had a lot of nicknames.
The first, and probably most obvious one was “Nat” – but to this day, it’s also my least favorite.
Over the years I’ve been called “Cubby.” “monkey,” “Natalobster” and a whole host of other animal-related names.
The cool thing about nicknames is that they not only identify us, but they show a level of intimacy beyond our given name. After all, when our parents named us they didn’t really know anything about our character, or our personality. Nicknames come later – as people began to understand who we are, what we’re about, and how we interact in this world.
Recently, I learned that James the Apostle also had an animal-related nickname. His nickname was “Camel Knees.” However, the reason for this wasn’t because he was born with knotty knees, or because he was wobbling upon standing up. Instead, James earned this nickname because of the countless hours he spent on his knees in prayer. As he did so, his knees became calloused and swollen. His devotion to God not only led to a spiritual change, but he was physically altered as well!
Which should get us thinking, what do we want our nicknames to be? Do we want people to remember us for our sports prowess, our humor, or our beauty? Or do we want people to so identify us with a pure and committed to devotion to God that even what they call us demonstrates that heart?
Nicknames are a fun way to relate what’s special about an individual. Each one has a story and is symbolic of what is important. May increasingly people see what’s special about us is our commitment to Christ, and may the names they give us signify our love for Him.