When you hear the names Hitler, Judas, or Satan what's the first thoughts that come to your mind? When you hear the names Christ, George Washington, or Nephi what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? It's amazing to see how much can be represented in what some would call just a name. But our names are more than something to set us apart from the next guy or girl. Our names represent our values and morals, beliefs, and or deeds whether for good or evil.
If you simply take your last name for example it can link you to hundreds of ancestors. For me this makes me feel a great responsibility to uphold my last name of Davis for the good of my parents, grandparents, and past Davises have brought to it. For some this may be the case, for others it may be an opportunity to change the reputation their last name holds by changing their actions from previous generations.
In the Book of Mormon we learn that Helaman gave his sons the names of Lehi and Nephi so that they could remember the original Lehi and Nephi and follow their example of righteousness. In Helaman 5:6-7 we read:
"Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them."
Besides us all having a last name there is another name we should strive to take upon us, the name of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ we should take upon us His name at all times, and in all things, and in all places. We should strive to represent His name and example by patterning our lives after Him.
As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a representative of Christ I bear His name on me at all times through the name tag I wear. When people see this tag and the name of Christ they are watching me to see if I am representing Him properly. I'm automatically held to a higher standard because of the name I wear.
Those of us who don't have a visible name tag should still act as if we do. We should never be ashamed to be found as a bearer of His name and should always strive to uphold His reputation. Just as with our names we can uphold Christ's name with the honor and respect it deserves or we can let it become just another name. The choice is ours.