February 22, 2010
. . . And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Acts 11:26b
Most people don't know the name of Fred Morrison.
Now I could begin by telling you that Morrison was a World War II pilot and a prisoner of war. Or I could share that he died a week or two ago at the age of 90. I could tell you that, but that wouldn't help you know Mr. Morrison much better.
And I doubt if it would help much if I informed you that Fred Morrison was the inventor of the battery-operated toy tomahawk and a water-filled bowling set.
That didn't help, did it? How about if I tell you that Morrison also created the Whirl-O-Way and Pluto Platter? Does that help you figure it out?
In truth, Morrison's inventions never went too far, that is, until he licensed his greatest idea to the Wham-O Manufacturing Company in 1957. The company took his invention, borrowed a name from an East-coast pie company, and christened Morrison's invention by a new name: Frisbee.
Although Morrison thought the name change was stupid, the change made a big difference. The flying bit of plastic known as the Frisbee caught on. It sold hundreds of millions and became one of the most popular toys of the 20th century.
Truly, there are times when what you call something can make a difference. That, however, is not always the case. For example, our text for today's devotion says, "in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." Before that time the followers of the Savior had been known as members of "The Way." That's really not a bad name since Jesus said He was the Way, and we know there is only one Way to heaven.
But those who have been to Bethlehem's manger, who have stood in sorrow and repentance at Calvary's cross, who have looked in awe and wonder into Jesus' empty tomb, know it is not the name we carry which is important. It is not our name that has made Christianity the biggest human organization the world has ever seen.
Every believer must acknowledge it is the Savior's work which is all important. His life, His sacrifice, His death and His resurrection offer forgiveness to all who believe. Because of what the Christ has done we know that heaven -- not hell -- will be our ultimate home.
No, it's not our name which is significant. It is the Savior who is the beginning and end of our salvation. Jesus is the Name which saves.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice and the salvation which comes through Your resurrection victory, we offer our thanks and praise. Now, as much as it lies within us, please make us worthy of Your Name. In Your service we pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries