My younger brother, Chris, and I went to college at the same time. We would often eat an evening meal together in the cafeteria. At one point, part of his discussion was about a certain girl in a couple of his classes. He was impressed with her. She was very pretty, and she was very smart.
One day while we were eating, he simply pointed and remarked, “There she is.” Sure enough, there stood Terry going through the cafeteria line. Her countenance was certainly impressive to me. If I remember correctly, she sported a plaid skirt (she always wore a skirt to her classes) with a white blouse. She had on dress shoes with short white socks.
I was immediately smitten with her. For the next few days, she stayed on my mind, especially when I would pass her by on campus.
I often wore a shirt which had the sleeves cut off, but my name, “Ron,” was distinctly sewn to it. One day as I ate a meal by myself, I saw Terry approaching me from my left with her wing girl, Sharon Page, in tow. Terry got up close, and asked, “Are you Huey?” According to the distinctive name tag on my shirt, it was obvious that I was not “Huey.”
After looking up and down at her, I said, “No, but I wish that I was.” Apparently, I favored a young man she was interested in at the time. She was looking for him. I was really disappointed, because I just knew she was hitting on me. Nonetheless, that brief encounter amounted to our first conversation with each other over forty- seven years ago.
Now, there was one thing in particular that emerged from that little encounter. To avoid any future confusion with my identity, she started calling me “Branchie” when ever she would see me, and the moniker has stuck after all these years. No one before referred to me by that name, and I did not mind that special reference. It accorded me special recognition from her. And, after all these years, I still do not mind being called by that name by her.
In contrast, it is interesting to note that one day the Lord is going to give us each a new name. According to Scripture, “To him that overcometh, I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it.”
The reason for giving us a new name is, at the least, to give us a distinctive identification as believers in Him. As I understand it, there are several hundred men named “Ronald Antone Branch” in the United States. My name is not the only name. But, when all is said and done, my name given to me by the Lord will be unique.
You may be called Bob, or Pat, or Beth, in this life, knowing that many others are called the same. But, one day, you and I will receive a new name distinctive from any other. It will prove our eternal connection with the Lord.
In the meantime, our fourth son, Jeshua, and his wife, Megan, gave us a pair of coffee mugs for Christmas with writing on the side. The first one presented said, “The woman, ‘Are you Huey?’” The second one said, “The man, ‘No, but I wish I was.’”
I am not sure whether it was the question or the response that ultimately impressed them most.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.