Devotion in Motion: Name that boy!

26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.   Acts 11:26  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Well, Spencer has moved away from home for the first time.  He’s a junior at The University of Mississippi. We thought that he moved away from home two years ago when he attended community college, but it wasn’t really so. East Central was only about 20 miles away, so we saw him every weekend.

Plus, a lot of times we saw him during the week, because it wasn’t any trouble for him to swing by the house if he had a few minutes. So, this “real” move is taking a lot of getting used to. We are all missing him terribly.

Because our lives are changing so much in so many ways, I’ve been thinking a lot about when my boys were little. Sometimes I worry that you might be getting tired of hearing the old stories about my boys. But I guess when you are telling a story in a column, it is different than when you are telling the story to someone you are drinking coffee with. I mean, the person at the table is trapped, and they don’t have a choice (really) if they want to hear you talk about your kids or not. But, when you write a column, nobody has to read it if it doesn’t look interesting.  They can just click on another website. After all, it’s a free country. So, if you’re still reading this far, thank you. You really do mean the universe to me.

But, as I was saying, I’ve been thinking a lot about when my boys were little. Spencer and Seth have always been so different from one other; it was hard to think about them being “close in age.” In reality, they were born only 3 years apart. But when I think about them being tiny, the thing I remember most is that Spencer was always doing something, and whatever he did, Seth thought it was hilarious. I think that is the way it is in a lot of families with more than one child. The smaller ones think that everything that the older ones do is so very wonderful, and humorous, and entertaining.

And, I think it is for that very reason that when Seth was very small (about 2 or 3 years old) he never said his name was Seth. Seth always said that his name was Spencer. (He pronounced this as ‘Pencer.  You know, it always takes children forever to learn to put those beginning esses at the start of words.)

One lady at our church thought that this was incredibly funny. Every Sunday, she would say to Seth, “Hi, little boy.  What is YOUR name? And every Sunday, Seth said the same thing: “ ‘Pencer.” To this she replied, “Well, good morning, ‘Pencer.”

None of this amounted to too much until one evening when two Seventh Day Adventist ladies dropped by our house. They were from Mexico, and were interested and buying a piece of property nearby so that they could start a Hispanic congregation there. We welcomed them into our living room, and they asked to use the telephone.

I went into the back bedroom to find a telephone directory, and I heard them making small talk with our boys. One lady asked Spencer what his name was, and he told her.  The other lady asked Seth what his name was, and as you can guess, he told her that HIS name was Spencer. We were very amused to overhear the one lady remarking to the other: “American families are very unusual.  They have given both of their sons the same name!”

My mom said that the reason that Seth always said his name was Spencer was because he was so crazy about his brother. And I am pretty sure that this is the truth. He thought his older brother was so wonderful that he wanted to be exactly like him—and he wanted to wear his name.

Do you want to know a fascinating fact from the Holy Scriptures? We all know that Jesus is our Saviour. But did you know that the Bible teaches that Jesus is our older brother? (See Hebrew 2:11) And, like the followers of Jesus in today’s Scripture text (at the top), we wear the name of our Saviour when we call ourselves “Christians.” As we begin a new week of life, let’s do our best to live up to His name and His likeness by striving to do the things that are pleasing to Him!

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where at age 3, Seth once looked at a photo of his brother and himself and said, “When I was a baby, Spencer was a Seth.”) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to