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"What Does Your Name Mean?"

March 03, 2018
By Pastor Bill Te Winkle

If you walked into some local watering hole in northern Minnesota you probably couldn’t pick him out of the crowd. For many years he would have liked it that way.  You see, this was the guy who failed in the critical moment.  Those who follow the sport of curling closely would recognize him, though. They would recognize John Shuster, in the years before 2018. They would go over to the other end of the bar and tell a few stories at John’s expense. Stories about how he performed well in 2006, but in 2010 and 2014 he failed.  

“It got so bad that the word ‘shuster’ was added to the Urban Dictionary. (Definition? ‘A verb meaning to fail to meet expectations, particularly at a moment critical for success or even slightly respectable results,’ as in ‘Man, he really shustered that!’)” (Scott Cacciola, NYT, Feb. 23, 2018) 

What happened after the 2014 Olympic Games, though, started the story which gave his name a new meaning.  He devoted every day for four years to a single goal: to win the Olympics Men’s Curling event in 2018.  With that single-minded determination he assembled a similarly non-descript team of ‘guys’ from Middle America.  He led his  ‘Team Reject’ as they overcame the United States Olympics folks who rejected him; they beat all the other qualifiers to whom they was supposed to lose; and they beat the best curling athletes in the world to win the gold medal.  And now the name ‘Shuster’ has a new meaning.

So let’s think about your name. What does it mean to you?  Are you wishing people understood who you really are, that when they said your name it had a meaning closer to who you know are, not who ‘they’ think you are?  Take a lesson from Mr. Shuster.  Set a goal. Work on it every day. (This is the hard part, by the way.) Don’t give up.  While you may not win a gold medal at the end of your quest, you will have shown the world, and most importantly, yourself, the real meaning of your name. Someone who will not let ‘others’ define your name; someone who will not quit when adversity hits hard; someone who believes in the God-given potential your name meant all along.