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The Sons of Thunder

Nick names provide a window into a person’s soul.  Although some may be based upon an embarrassing moment, humorous personality or sarcasm, nicknames serve as terms of endearment, sobriquet or a tag that sticks.  If you allow yourself to become vulnerable in a social setting, sooner or later you too will receive one.

In the first century, two young fisherman were given an unusual nickname in Mark 3:17, known as the sons of thunder.  Growing up on their father’s boat, James and John likely passed on fishing stories to the disciples.  The origin of this label has 3 possible explanations.  First, since fisherman like to go out in the rain, perhaps whenever the boys went along with dad, it began to thunder.  On the other hand, thunder can also represent someone with a bad temper, wearing emotions on your sleeves.  Finally, since voices echo on water, each might have possessed a loud voice, bouncing off the water like thunder.  Whatever the source, people are watching to see who you really are.

Most of the nicknames I accrued over time occurred in either high school or college.  Blue Jay, Mank the Tank and Praying Mantis are just a few of the ones that come to mind.  While reflecting on this topic, I began to wonder, how will people remember me?  Was I a hypocrite, jerk or pain in the butt?  I’m sure some of my former students have strong opinions either way.  Though people will continue to dole out nicknames, make sure the one’s you earn glorify God.

Feel free to share your favorite nick name and the context in which it was coined.

by Jay Mankus

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