Others Devotional, volume 23

What’s In A Name? by Alecia Vandenberg

Scripture:  “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:16 But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” – John 10:3

What’s the most important word in your life? Odd question, I know. Think about it for a few seconds. Of all the words in your life, which one is the most important? We’ll come back to this in a moment.

Let me introduce you to Carrie. Carrie went to my high school and graduated a couple years ahead of me. As an oldest child, I didn’t really know many upperclassmen personally, and even fewer knew me. But Carrie did. Carrie said hi to me early in my freshmen year and asked my name. From that point forward, she always greeted me with “Hi, Alecia!” Always. And the thing was, Carrie knew everyone by name. She didn’t know me, but she knew my name, and that was enough to make me feel both special and valued.

So what’s the most important word in your life? Arguably, your name. It sets you apart, it identifies you, it was chosen with careful consideration by your parents. Carrie took it upon herself to make a difference in the world around her by simply knowing the names of her classmates. Carrie and I were never besties, but I know she saw me, and I know she valued me enough to use my name. She made an effort to look me–an underclassmen–in the eye; she cared enough to ask my name, remember it, and use it when she greeted me.

God knows your name. He knew it before you were a twinkle in your mother’s eye, and He loves you immensely. He cares for you and wants you to follow His leading. It’s a pretty incredible thing, really.
What Carrie did may seem insignificant to you, but it was a big deal to me, and it taught me a lesson in loving others. Simply greeting someone by using his or her name can make that person feel valued. Our God knows my name, and He knows your name, too. You can share God’s love with others simply by using their name. You never know—it could brighten someone’s day, and they may remember it years from now.

Prayer: Lord, we praise You because You’re the God of the universe, and yet You know us all by name. May we be both humbled and encouraged by that. Help us to see a reflection of You in others, and may we be a reflection of You to others. In Your holy name, Amen.

About the Author: Alecia is an English teacher, soccer enthusiast, and general lover of the high school experience. She’s originally from Michigan but is proud to have lost her midwest accent. She loves shoes, traveling, Cadbury Cream Eggs, but her favorite thing on earth is her family. She adores her husband/4th grade teaching counterpart, Mr. V; they have two daughters: a spirited three-nager named Kamryn, and sweet, smiley, blue-eyed doll named Sadie who was born exactly one year ago!

Originally published on March 10, 2017.

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