Nothing impure will ever enter it [heaven], …. but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.             Revelation 21:27


The title of this reflection comes from my 11 year old grandson, Luke, who put this on his soccer jersey.  It says something about him:  he loves bacon!  A couple of years ago, we took a 23-day trip in southeast Asia with my son and his family and stayed in hotels that all had an American style breakfast in addition to fruit and something from the local culture.  Luke had bacon for 23 days in a row.  I asked him if he ever ate anything else, and he replied, “Yes. Donuts,  if they have them.”  MMMBACON confirms his love for bacon.

Names often say something about each of us.  My wife is called “Sis” which would tell you that she has a brother – two of them, in fact. My mother’s maiden name was “Anderson” which would indicate that she might be of Scandinavian descent.  In fact, she was the daughter of two Swedish immigrants  who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century.  I have a friend in Cameroon whose name is Dibikamp Benvictor Ojongmanyinkongho.  That’s not a misprint – all 17 letters of it. I call him Benvictor “Alphabet” for short since I cannot pronounce or spell his real name.  His name is derived from his African family names combined with a European name. Cameroon was a French colony at one time, and French is one of its primary languages.

While we live with names that were given to us by our parents,  we often acquire nicknames given to us by others such as my wife’s nickname. On the other hand,   English is the primary language used in business in Japan, and it is commonplace for Japanese to adopt an American or English nickname which is easier for others to remember (or pronounce) than their own Japanese name. Yasuhiro Hagihara, who was my law partner for 10 years, picked “Hagi” for his nickname and everyone calls him that. Several years ago, I was in Tokyo having lunch with some clients, and one of them asked me if I liked the name “Kirk”.   I said it sounded fine but wondered why he was asking me. He told me he wanted to adopt a nickname for his new business cards and he was trying out several names, including “Kirk” and just wanted my opinion. He was interested in what that name would “say” about him.

Jesus has many names in the Bible, each one of which “says” something about Him.  Names like Good Shepherd, Eternal God, Light of the World, Savior, Alpha and Omega, King of Kings, Resurrection and the Life, Eternal Judge,  Son of God, and many others.   Each name tells something about Him and His character.  While we will never fully understand the character of God, we can know him in a personal way and thereby have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

My challenge for you is to look around you today for those who may not have their name in the Book of Life.    Our eternal destiny is tied to knowing God and having our name entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life.  This is a chance to bring your family and friends along with you for eternity.

Bill Mann


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