Have you ever had a nickname?
Nicknames are not always a bad thing, all of us have known a "scooter" or "slick" at one point in our lives. Nicknames can actually reveal a lot about a person if you think about it. Pastor Craig Groeshel teaches that how a person addresses you will reveal how well they know you. I think he is right.
Let me illustrate:
Let's pretend you are at dinner with me and we are waiting to be seated. 10 minutes passes and then you hear the server announce, "Klll U Deet US Party of 3." Two things will go through your mind (1) Anthony you have a really messed-up last name and (2) the server absolutely does not know Anthony Kladitis.
Let's take this a step further. If you call me "Mr. Kladitis" or "Pastor Anthony" the chances are that you know me, but you are not that close to me. You know of me, but the intimate details of my life are not on your radar.
Along the line there will be the people that call me, Anthony. Most people call me Anthony (at least to my face) and this tells me that we are, generally speaking, close. At least closer relationally that the above groups.
But then there is this other group, the mysterious category of people that call me by a nickname: "Anth" or "Ant." If you call me this, then this means we are tight. We have stories -scratch that- we share stories. Private ones. One's that date us back years.
Here is a rule that I just made up: The way that you address someone will change according to your relationship with them. Take for example your spouse. When you are introduced by your spouse, they refer to you as their husband or wife. I have never witnessed a wife walk up to her friends and say, "Hello! I would like you all to meet Dr. John Wilson." But I have experienced on several occasions a wife introducing her spouse the following way, "Everybody, I would like you to meet my husband, John Wilson." The wife introduced her husband according to her relationship with her husband.
The names people call you reveal something about their relationship with you and it is no different with God. [The God-Bomb. You knew it was coming, it was only a matter of time].
David said, "Those who know your name will trust in you."
Let me ask you, How do you address God?
-Lord of all Creation?
What do you call God? Do you feel close enough to call him Friend? Do you have in mind a distant Father?
Jesus had a nickname for God. It was something that a little child would call his father, "Abba."
Abba, translated into English simply means Daddy and was used by infants. Jesus was 30 years old and still called His Father Abba. Let me ask you a question, Do you still call your mother and father by the same title today that you did when you were 3?
I thought not.
It's pretty amazing what the nicknames people closest to someone will call them.