Battle Lines: The Difference a Name Makes

By: Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

A while ago I bought a plain sweatshirt from Walmart for the princely sum of $15. It was plain but serviceable. It kept me warm and was comfortable, doing all that a sweatshirt should do, even if it was a bit boring to look at. But not many people want or wear plain sweatshirts or T-shirts. They want to have something written on them.

But you can’t have just anything written on them. For example, when our children were younger, they had shirts that all their classmates signed. They were quite happy with them, but they were a royal mess to look at. When it came time to give them away to the ARC, I’m sure the sorter threw them right into the bin of stuff to be recycled into paper napkins. No mother shopping in the thrift store would want to put their little darling in a shirt with someone else’s classmates’ names plastered all over it. While it is good to have something written on shirts, it has to be the right thing.

I just looked up what a sweatshirt like my Walmart special would cost if it included my favorite college team’s name on it. Over three times as much. Having the right name on it is what makes the sweatshirt more valuable. The name makes the difference.

As I walked around the mall thinking about what a difference the name makes, I thought about what makes my life of any worth. In and of itself, it’s nothing at all. But I bear the name of Jesus, and suddenly this unremarkable material has value because of that name. When Joseph was told that Mary was to bear the Son of God, he was instructed, “you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). And we who are saved from our sins bear His name. We who had no value have had value conveyed to us. When this life’s last breath is taken and we draw our first breath in eternity, it is that name upon us that will allow us to stand in God’s presence. Because He has saved us from our sins.