In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3b-4
Have you ever forgotten your name? Yeah, me neither.
We forget where we put our car keys, and that we were suppose to pick up milk or cat food, but rarely do we forget our name. Names matter to us. We notice when our names are misspelled, mispronounced, or missing from a list. We feel special when someone remembers our name, and feel loved by those who use it regularly. In Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle says: “To be given a name is an act of intimacy as powerful as any act of love . . . To name is to love. To be named is to be loved.”
Next question. Have you ever said, “Oh, I’m terrible with names”? Yeah, me too.
Yet if we care so deeply about our own names why do we rationalize and make excuses for not remembering other people’s names? Paul told the church in Philippi, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3b-4).
The first step in taking an interest in others is to put their names in our memory banks. In that simple act of learning someone’s name we take a sincere interest in others and communicate that they matter. They matter to us, and more important they matter to God.
Everything changed for Zacchaeus when Jesus looked up into the sycamore tree and spoke his name. Saul’s life and even his name took a radical turn on the road to Damascus when Jesus looked down and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) At the empty tomb it was when Jesus spoke Mary’s name that she recognized Him. Her tears of grief transformed to cries of joy.
The most important use of names is to remind people who they really are. Their identity, value, and worth are predetermined by Christ and outlined in His Word. From A to Z God tells us the names that matter most . . . you are Adopted by God, you are His Beloved, a new Creation, Dearly loved by the Father, Equipped to do good works, a Friend of Jesus, and the list goes on.
He becomes greater and we become less when we humbly value others by learning their names and reminding them of their identity in Christ.
HE>I: Do you know all the names of those around you, the children in your church, your neighbors? If not, begin memorizing names today!