A Christian in Name Only

At the end of World War I, Herbert Hoover, later to become President of the United States, led the allied relief efforts in Europe. He kept hundreds of thousands from starving and a new word entered the Finnish language. In Finland, to “hoover” means “to be kind, to help.”[1]

The question asked is: If someone coined a word from your name, what would it be? Tough question isn’t it; especially, when the Lord’s church is plagued with those who are Christian in name only?

Our life is a continuous development of character. What we are is what we have chosen to be and what we become is what we will choose. Certainly, there are external factors that impact our circumstances, but ultimately, we decide how we will respond to outside stimuli (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we choose poorly, we only add to our burden. “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). If we choose wisely, our rewards will be an abundant life, both here and in eternity (John 10:10).

However, the personal plus or minus of our life is only one factor in the equation. There are observers in this spiritual warfare, both friend and foe, watching for signs of how the battle goes. It is for their benefit also that we live this life of service. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14). Is our life so obviously Christian that others are compelled to ask “you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15)? We must live public. Understanding the effectiveness of such a tool will offer us opportunities to reach out to those who need help physically, but especially, spiritually.

If someone coined a word from your name, would it be “helpful” or “hurtful?” The God-given name “Christian” yokes us with Christ (Matthew 11:28-30), and He “went about doing good … for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Are you a Christian in name only or, with you, does the name truly have meaning?


[1] Tom Moore, from the Preacher’s PC, 2/24/03