November 24, 2019
The Importance of a Name
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. – John 10:2-3
While I admit that my last name is uncommon, I do not think of it as difficult to pronounce. (Of course, you might say that is just because I have had it all my life!) Nevertheless, back in the days before we had converted entirely to cell phones, I frequently received calls—around dinnertime, it seemed—where the caller would begin, “Hello Mr. _______,” and badly mispronounce my last name. I could just about guess he was trying to sell roofing, aluminum siding, or storm windows for the house. By using my name, he intended to inject a personal note into the conversation. But the result was just the opposite when he mispronounced it.
Contrast that picture with the way my wife speaks to me, addressing me as “Dear” or “Honey” or, if we are in a public setting, by my first name. Hearing these names reminds me that I am loved. At one time my kids called me Daddy, and later Dad, and those are precious names. So, too, is my newest name: Grandpa. All of these names carry the warmth of love, respect, and closeness.
I am so glad that to Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, I am not just “Mr. ______,” with a mispronounced surname. How He is able to remember my name out of the billions of people on the earth is totally beyond my comprehension, but He does. And not only does He know my name, but He knows everything about me! He knows the things that make me happy and the things that make me sad, the things I can do well and the things with which I struggle—He even knows my weaknesses. Yet despite all of this, He loves me personally.
God cares about all of us that way. He knows each one of our names, He calls each one individually, and His heart breaks for each one who does not respond. Knowing that He cares about us so much should inspire us to love Him also, and we can show that we love Him by joyfully and willingly keeping His commandments. Let’s determine to let nothing come between us and our Savior that could break such a sweet, personal relationship.