Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, "The man of God has come all the way up here," he said to Hazael, "Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the LORD through him; ask him, 'Will I recover from this illness?'" -2 Kings 8:7-8
It seems as if everyone who plays sports picks up a nickname at some point. Coaches love to give nicknames. One coach I know gives every player he coaches a nickname.
One definition of the word "nickname" is that it is "a descriptive name given instead of the one belonging to a person." It can be cute, funny, short, rude, defining or obvious. You either love your nickname or hate it. My dad's nickname growing up was Horse, because he worked like one. My nickname was Bean, because I loved baked beans as a kid.
In 2 Kings, Elisha had an awesome nickname. People nicknamed Elisha "Man of God." When Ron Brown (FCA State Director, Nebraska) spoke this month at an FCA outreach event to almost 300 football coaches, he challenged them to be coaches that were set apart in such a way that they would be called not a success, but a Man of God. Do we live in such a way that we are defined by our faith? Do we compete in such a way that people know we play for the Master Coach? Are we known by our faith? Elisha loved and served God with such a passion, people just called him Man of God.
It would be incredible to start giving each other God-honoring nicknames. When something significant happened in the life of an individual in the Bible, God often marked that event by changing the name of that person, like Saul into Paul, Simon to Peter, and Jacob to Israel. Imagine nicknames that would describe one's gifts and talents. You can get creative with it. Maybe nicknames like the Rock (for someone with strong faith), T-Dog (for someone with Truth) or the Easy-E (for a person who is an Encourager). Every time you call your friends by their nicknames you are building them up. Remember, name calling is usually bad, but in this case, name-call as much as you want!
1. Do you have a nickname? Does it describe you? Do you like it?
2. If there was one nickname you would want, what would it be? Don't hold back, be honest.
3. If you could give one friend a God-honoring nickname, what would it be?
4. If God gave you a nickname, what would it be? What would you like it to be?
Extra Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-15
"Lord Jesus, I realize that names are powerful. Reveal to me God-honoring names for my friends. Help me to build others up. Let me speak life into them, even through a nickname. I desire as a competitor to be known for my faith not my success. May my love and commitment to You be the way people define me. Amen."