What's in a Name?

While Monique and I were self-checking out at the local Target, I heard a little voice nearby repeatedly and almost lyrically saying, "Poppi! Poppi! Poppi!" You know how you will hear something, but you are not focused on it? I was busy scanning and not processing the soft-like singing of my grandpa name. I had to ask myself after a while, "Was this child saying something else and it just seamed like he was saying, "Poppi?"

When you have grandchildren, your grown children inquire, "Well, what do you want to be called?" We decided on "Mimi" and "Poppi." Monique's French upbringing influenced our selection. Our children called her parents, "Mamée" and "Pepé." As the years have rolled on, we have heard many grandmothers referred to as "Mimi." It's short, cute and gets a lot of attention. I've always been a little conflicted about my name. It sounded more like a salad dressing to me as in Poppy Seed! I also think about when I was a kid how veterans handed out poppies during Memorial Day. However, over the years, the grandparent designation of "Poppi"has stuck with me and after eleven grands now, I'm very proud of it!
They call me, "Poppi!"

After we had finally bagged our purchases and pulled the receipt, we turned toward the doorway and Monique engaged a cute little two-year old boy that had been sitting politely in the cart seat while waiting on his mother to check-out her purchases. Monique, an experienced Mimi, questioned the little guy in a sweet way, "Are you saying Poppi?" He didn't respond, but his mother did. "Yes, he is. That's what he calls my dad." I then commented, "That's what our grandchildren call me. Do you spell the name: P-O-P-P-I?" And she responded, "Oh yes!" I was glad to hear this and felt encouraged by her explanation!

My son-in-law was frustrated recently with his sons who habitually call out to him in big-box stores trying to get his attention, "DAD! DAD!!" He told them, "Do you realize that half the guys in this store turn around when you shout, "DAD?" I said to him later, "What do you want them to call you... Reece?!" And he replied, "That would probably make more sense!" Now, truth be told I repeatedly had this same conversation with my kids when they were children. However, you can only imagine how many guys my age are named, "Mike!" A familiar given name like mine may not solve the problem!

Jesus taught us to praise God when we pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name" (Matthew 6:9). He further instructed that as we seek His will and use His name in our prayerful requests we will find answers, "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). Paul used a great worship hymn to remind all believers that, "God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth" (Philippians 2:9-10).

What's in a name when it is the name of Jesus? Honor, power, and worship are in His name! Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a beautiful praise song in 1970 that declared, "There's just something about that name." That phrase captures the uniqueness and beauty of Jesus' name for believers today. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...Master, Savior, Jesus... Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there's just something about that name."

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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