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
I had a very good birthday this year. Susan gave me a brother-and-sister pair of chocolate point Siamese kittens. People are always surprised when I tell them that I love Siamese cats. I think the breed has gotten “a bad rap,” probably based on the pair of cats seen in “Lady and the Tramp.” But seriously, Siamese cats are great. They have only one coat of hair (unlike most cats that have an additional undercoat) and they don’t shed very much. They’re very intelligent, know everybody’s schedule and business, comment on everything that goes on in the household, and are very much the jesters of the cat family.
As soon as I got my kittens home, everybody started asking me what I was going to name them. When I told them I hadn’t picked out names, everybody immediately started to name them for me. I said, “Now just hold on a minute. Let’s keep the kittens around for a while and watch them. When we see what the creature is, then we’ll be able to name it.”
(I learned this principle from one of my co-workers. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and she and her husband didn’t name him for a couple of days. She said her husband believe you need to see what a dog (or a baby) is like before you name him. After a couple of days (and due consideration) they named the baby “Lyle.” I must say, they hit the nail on the head. This young man is a “Lyle” if I’ve ever seen one. But I digress…)
Well, I have to say that Susan and I went through a number of phases during the process of naming the kittens. When they pulled the tablecloth off of the dining room table, Susan said we should name the boy-cat “Felon” and the girl-cat “Miss Demeanor.” I didn’t think this was entirely fair because a felony is a higher class of crime than a misdemeanor, and the little girl is usually the instigator of the worst shenanigans the pair creates.
When the kittens pounced on our heads at 2:30 AM on a workday, I suggested we name them “Badness” and “Little-Devil-Child.” However, we changed our minds when they redeemed themselves by behaving like precious angels as we drank our morning coffee the next day.
After about two weeks, I made the final decision concerning their names. I named the little girl “Eleanor” because she reminded me of Eleanor Roosevelt; she is always busy and striving to live life to the fullest. And Eleanor is a name she can grow into. Siamese cats always grow up to be stately and regal.
And the little boy I named “Mac”. Watching him as a tiny kitten tempted us to name him something like “Tippy” or “Hoppy” because he was so tiny and active. But after studying his habits, I discerned that he would someday be a great big he-man of a cat…like somebody who could drive a truck. Hence, his name is “Mac”—a name he can grow in to. Susan said “Mac” was too short of a name, so I said in passing, “Well, I guess we can name him ‘MacArthur McBeath’.” (MacArthur McBeath is a former student of mine who I taught when he was a very little boy.) Susan said that this name fits him perfectly.
Giving a kitten a fitting name probably isn’t all that important in the big scheme of things. But the “spiritual names” that people wear are of utmost (and eternal) importance. We all claim to wear the name “Christian.” Would those who know us give us that name “Christian” if they looked at our behavior first?
Let’s strive to live as believers should this week. If we wear the name, let’s make sure that the name fits us.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the preacher’s wife put Eleanor and MacArthur McBeath in “time out” this week for being naughty.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.