Naming Jack Elliot.

In order to celebrate the first twelve days of our son’s life, I want to share the significance behind his name. Previously I’ve written blogs on the significance of our girls’ names. You can find these blogs titled “Naming Elisabeth Jane” and “Naming Clara Anne”. Josh and I believe that names have significance and are often a reflection of a person’s character or purpose. Many times throughout scripture God changes a person’s name in order to reflect the new being God redeemed or the calling He placed on their life. Therefore, we try and choose names that not only have a “nice ring” but have a Christ-centered significance. Jack Elliot is no exception.

Jack means “God is gracious”. Grace is when God gives us the good that we do not deserve. His greatest act of grace towards humanity was when He died so that we could be clothed in righteousness, allowing us to experience the “good” of an intimate relationship with Him and eternity in His perfect home. Because of that grace, I will never be the same. Over and over again throughout our transition to Malawi God has proven himself to be so full of grace. Through each bump in the road, every unexpected delay, and every changed plan God has been gracious. He has blessed us mightily here in Malawi. Since we’ve been here He has blessed us with His presence, spiritual growth that makes us more like Christ, ample opportunities to serve the “least of these”, precious memories with our children, and budding relationships. Jack Elliot is certainly at the top of that list of blessings. Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Not only has God been gracious to us by giving us Jack, but my prayer is that Jack understands God’s grace. I’m faithfully praying that our precious Jack sees how incredibly gracious the Savior is and accepts the free gift of forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life. Beyond that, I’m praying that Jack sees God’s graciousness poured out on him throughout his everyday life. May Jack never take for granted the blessings God has given him but be filled with joyful thanksgiving.

Elliot has a few meanings depending on the origin. The Greek origin of Elliot is derived from Elijah, which means “Jehovah is God.” The French language translates Elliot “believes in God”, and the English translation is “God on high; my God is Jehovah”. For sake of fluidity, I have been combining these translations into “believes in my God who is Jehovah”. My prayer is that Jack’s testimony throughout his life will be trusting surrender to the Jehovah God in whom he believes. I’ve also been praying portions of Psalm 91 over him. My prayer looks something like this.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I [Jack] will say of the LORD [Jehovah], “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” “Because he [Jack] loves me,” says the LORD [Jehovah], “I will rescue him [Jack]; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He [Jack] will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him [Jack] and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:1-2, 14-16; (brackets mine)

In addition to meaning “believes in my God who is Jehovah”, Elliot is taken after the great missionary martyr, Jim Elliot. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot are spiritual giants in Josh and my eyes. We have learned much from their writings. Jim and Elisabeth’s testimony encouraged me to surrender to the Lord’s call to missions and to a relationship with Josh. I pray that our sweet Jack Elliot grows to be a man of servant-hearted submission who is completely sold-out for the Lord Jesus Christ, as his namesake was. Of course I pray that the Lord spares my son from martyrdom, but I do pray that my son has the passionately committed spirit of a martyr. In closing I want to leave you with a prayer. Jim Elliot prayed he would become a “fork”, and I pray likewise for Jack.

“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

Jim Elliot