If you didn’t have a nickname you were nothin’.  That’s the way it was with my growin’ up buddies.  Everybody had one:  Sly, Vick, Duck, Head, Shug, and Bulldog.  Mine was Wormy, which, by the way, was the worst one.  What chick in her right mind wanted to date a guy called Wormy?   So, I tended to date girls who weren’t in their right mind. 
 
The thing about nicknames is you don’t get to pick your own.  Somebody else picks it for you.  In my case, since I resembled a worm with my body build, I got stuck with it.  Six feet, 160 with sideburns and an Adam’s Apple that weighed ten pounds, yea Wormy fit. I would have preferred a nickname such as Pencil, or Stick, or maybe even Q-tip, but like I said, you don’t get to pick your own nickname.  By the way, as a kid nicknamed Wormy the beach was the last place I wanted to be. I had to have suspenders to hold up my bathing suit, which made for some bad tan lines.
 
We were supposed to have a high school class reunion this summer, but a thing called Corona has gotten in the way. I’ve gone to all of them so far.  I like to call them gatherings of “fat fullbacks and aging home coming queens.”  I remember our 40th quite well.  We had a couple of parties and a memorial service.  We had a really big graduating class and some 25 of our classmates had died.  I spoke at the service and reflected on how your perspective changes when you are 58, as opposed to 18.  We had a good class, and most of my classmates have done well.  Have we changed the world?  Not hardly, but we have made, I am sure, some difference in it.
 
Jesus had a motley crew of twelve disciples (classmates) and with them, did change the world.  At least three of them had nicknames.  James and John, brothers with short fuses, got the moniker, Sons of Thunder.  And then Simon Peter got the nickname Rock.  Guess who gave it to him?  Jesus.  Jesus said of Simon Peter, “You shall be called Rock, and upon this rock, I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). 
 
Our Catholic friends understand that passage to mean that Peter was the first Pope.  Most Protestants would take it to mean that upon the profession of faith in Christ that Peter had just made, upon that kind of profession, Christ built his church.  Regardless of who has the correct interpretation, one thing is sure; Simon Peter must have been one strong dude to get such a nickname from Jesus. 
 
I would give anything if someone had nicknamed me Rock.  Wormy is about as opposite of Rock as one could get.  Rock symbolizes strength.  Wormy symbolizes weakness.  Simon Peter had to be strong in his faith to endure the hardships that being a disciple would bring him.  Tradition says that he was put to death by crucifixion for Christ.  He literally took up his cross and followed Jesus.  He was a rock. 
 
I wonder what nickname my kids would give me.  I hope it would be a strong, not weak, one.  Kids everywhere need mentors and role models.   So, be a rock, not a worm.   
 
~Pastor Steve
Dr. Steve Davis

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