Many of you, especially those of you who have taken Evangelism Explosion, remember a story that D. James Kennedy used to tell. It went something like this.
When Alexander the Great was the commander of Greece, he conquered the known world of his day. Alexander was a fierce warrior and a driven competitor. It is said that when he had conquered all the empires he could find to fight against, he sat and wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.
Now, as a fierce warrior and a driven general, he had zero tolerance for cowardice. Men who displayed fear on the battlefield would often be put to death. Alexander knew that the intensity of war demanded that kind of discipline so he was not bashful about handing it out. One day, a young soldier was brought to the great general and accused of treason and cowardice. Of course the young man was very afraid and uncertain of his fate. He was brought before General Alexander trembling in fear. What would the general do? Would he die?
When he entered the room where the General was he looked at Alexander’s face. It was hard and fierce. He knew what was coming. He was going to die. But when the general saw this young lad standing before him, trembling, his heart was touched. The young man watched as the fierceness left his face and his eyes softened. His heart began to leap inside. Maybe he would live after all!
Then Alexander spoke in the kind voice of a Father and said, “Young man, what is your name?” Thinking the danger was past the young man replied, “Alexander, sir.” A look of shock crossed the general’s face and he said, “Young man, what is your name?” Suddenly afraid again, the young man stammered, “Al-Alexander, sir.” All of a sudden the general’s face turned red and with seething anger he asked again. “What is your name?” Mortified, the young man stammered, “Al-alexander, sir.”
“Well,” the general replied, “Change your character, or change your name!”