Turn Over the Name Tag!

by Glen Young

By the end of the '60s, many anti-establishment hippies had moved to Santa Cruz, California. Like so many others, they married and had children. When their children were born, they didn’t give them names like Melissa or Brett. Their neighbors, in and around Santa Cruz, grew accustomed to their children playing with little Time Warp or Spring Fever. As we all know, children grow, so eventually, it came time for Moonbeam, Earth, Love, and Precious Promise to go to public schools. It is here in our story that the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand.

Every fall, mothers put name tags on their children, kissed them good-bye, and sent them off to board the school bus. It was not different for Fruit Stand. His mother pinned his name tag to his shirt and sent him to school.

Even the seasoned kindergarten teachers thought the boy’s name was a bit odd. However, they determined to make the best of it. “Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand,” they offered? At snack time they asked, “Fruit Stand, how about a snack?” He always looked confused when they spoke to him but accepted hesitantly. By the end of the day, his name didn’t seem much odder then Heather’s or Sun Ray’s.

The end of the school day arrived and it was time for the teachers to lead the children out to the busses. “Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?” He just stood there looking confused. It wasn’t all that strange because he had been doing it all day. And besides, lots of children are shy on the first day of school.

The teachers had planned ahead for just such a situation. They had instructed the mothers to write the names of their children’s bus stop on the reverse side of their name tags. Fruit Stand’s teacher reached down and turned over his name tag. There, neatly printed, was one word, “Anthony.”

Sin is that which, by its nature, is odd to the Christian. By this I mean, it is out of character. For example, when it comes to the sin of homosexuality, we ask, “Why would anyone want to do such an unnatural thing?”

Do you remember the first time you heard of someone being homosexual? You recoiled in disgust. Do you remember when our society as a whole did the same? Christians know, and at one time our society knew, that those who practice this reprehensible sin are unclean, unseemly, and have been turned over to a reprobate mind. Further, we knew that they who commit such things are worthy of spiritual death (Romans 1:24-32).

How does this fit into the story about Fruit Stand? The kindergarten teachers’ familiarity with the strange names of the children caused them to accept Fruit Stand as a child’s name. The kindergarten teachers in the story are emblematic of our society. Our society has been bombarded with so many strange (sinful) things that when it comes to something that is obviously sinful, it accepts it with little questioning. We have become desensitized to all manner of ungodly behavior. It no longer seems strange to hear about some celebrity or public figure “coming out” about their sexual orientation. Lying is accepted as a standard practice among public officials. Character doesn’t matter anymore.

The problem with this is that our society, like the teachers in our story, no longer sees the need to question its acceptance of all manner of wicked behavior. Our society has lost the ability to tell good from evil. On the other hand, Christians must be able to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Christians need to “turn over the name tag.” We do so by searching diligently for the truth and abiding therein!

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Proverbs 3:19-26
  • Proverbs 4:20-27
  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Proverbs 22:8
  • Ecclesiastes 12:1
  • Jeremiah 6:15
  • Jeremiah 8:12
  • Hosea 10:12-13
  • Matthew 6:22-23
  • Romans 1:18-32
  • I Corinthians 2:14
  • Galatians 5:13-17
  • Galatians 6:6-10
  • Philippians 1:9-10
  • I Thessalonians 5:21-22
  • I Timothy 4:1-2
  • Titus 1:15
  • I Peter 4:1-4
  • II Peter 1:2-12

Questions to Ponder

  1. What happens to a person who is exposed to sin for too long?
  2. We can overlook sin because we develop a habit of accepting sin. We can also overlook righteousness because we develop a habit of seeing everyone’s faults. How can we avoid falling into this trap?
  3. How can we establish good habits?
  4. How is a habit, good or bad, created?
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