Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's In a Name?

I was just reading this morning in Genesis 5 the account of Adam’s family line, a portion of scripture that I usually gloss over. But this time it was different. I read it line by line, name by name. I took a moment to reflect on each name.

In biblical times the selection of a child’s name was a serious decision. You didn’t just choose whatever sounded good. Today we hear of celebrities coming up with some crazy names. In fact, I found the “top 10” list of the craziest names in Hollywood.

Here they are:

• Bronx Mowgli Wentz
• Pilot Inspektor
• Kal-El Cage
• Moon Unit Zappa
• Jermajesty Jackson
• Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette
• Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale
• Rocket Rodriguez
• Brooklyn Beckham (actually, this isn’t so crazy to me)
• Apple Martin

How would you like to go around with one of these names?

The thing about a name is that it sets you apart. You are a unique individual who has value. I think that’s the most important thing we can learn about a name.

While it is easy to gloss over the family lines we find throughout the Bible, we have to remember that this was a person whose life had value to it. They weren’t just a blip on the screen of life.

Sometimes we get offended when someone doesn’t remember our name. It can feel like a personal affront, as if we don’t really matter. It can also feel good when you are at the grocery store or the bank and the person behind the counter actually acknowledges your name.

This whole thing with a name is something I have been thinking about for a couple of weeks now. Over the course of the past two months, God has been prompting me to help a homeless man that frequently sits outside the Pick n Save I shop at. Whenever I see him, I make sure to come out with a bottle of water.

But on one occasion the Lord was speaking to my heart, “He has a name.” It was easy to dismiss that…well of course he has a name. But what God was trying to say to me is that he has a name and I need to ask what it is. I need to see him as someone valuable and I can’t really do that until I know his name.

A good three weeks passed in between the time I heard God speaking to me about this and when I finally saw him again. I was walking up to the front doors of Pick n Save with my daughter and there he was on his bench.

I sat down next to him and said, “Hi.” I gave him a monetary gift that God had put upon my heart to give and then I asked him what his name was. Never have I seen that man smile. Even when I have handed him the bottled water, not even a crack. But he smiled and said, “Dan.” I shook his hand and told him my name and then I pointed to my daughter and told him her name. He reached out to shake her hand.

The conversation didn’t go much further. I said my, “God loves you” thing and we moved on.

Names are valuable because the person behind it is valuable. Whose name do you need to learn today?

(Photo by Kevin Walsh in Flickr)

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