Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Called by Name

I love being a substitute teacher. Many of us remember the way we treated substitutes when we were young and don't wish that on anyone. But it's a great job.  Really.

It didn't take long for me to learn that eavesdropping was my ticket to power.  Kids talk to each other--by name--as they enter a classroom.  As the bell rang, I would address at least one child specifically, "Caleb, take your seat." Shock registered on their faces. They didn't know me, but I knew them. By name. I'm convinced we remember what's important--and in my book, each student is important, from the 3-year-old who told me his name was "Jeremy Dean, Fat-Man McGee, but my friends call me Ralph," to the 17-year-old gang member whose dial is tuned in to respect.

God knows, by name, inside and out. He knows everything there is to know about each one of us--and He loves us anyway. Jesus knew His disciples before He called them. In fact, God loves us so much He'd rather die than let us go (song by Point of Grace). That's a lot of love.  More than we can imagine.

As those who minister in and out of the church, people matter. To wear His name, to be a little Christ, means we are more concerned about others--their likes and dislikes, goals and abilities--than ourselves. At those times when the project or the product is more important than the people, we are doing something wrong. To love others as Christ loves us is to know them. 

Last Saturday at an out-of-town competition, kindergartner Abby ran across the gym and threw her arms around my waist. My heart leaped with joy and a huge smile looked down on her.  Later, I wondered about God. How often does the sight of Him interrupt my day? I imagine it brings Him great joy when we remember Him, express our love, and draw His name into a conversation.

How often do I look for, do I see, Jesus in those unexpected places?  Am I just as happy and pleased to see him as the little ones who throw out my name along with their arms?  Do I speak His name to others?  How well do Jesus and I know each other? There is salvation in no other, "for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) There is power in His name.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). John 20:11-16
"...they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads." Revelation 22:4


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Val, thank you for your reply--this post is about the value and importance of each individual, and I value your comments. However, I could not leave them here at the risk of bringing spiritual harm to someone who has difficulty discerning truth. If you would like to continue this conversation, please email me directly (my contact information is on this site).


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