A friend of mine who pastors a fairly young church has determined that the church’s original name isn’t reflective of who they’ve become. It sort of reflects their location but it doesn’t reflect their values, their vision or anything substantive about them. They’re really grappling with it, praying over it, talking with a lot of people. A name that reflects their identity has become a pretty big deal for them. They need a new name.

I remember struggling with what we’d name our third child. She was a surprise but somehow that name didn’t seem appropriate so we crossed it off our list. People around us told us she was going to be a very special child (tying this to the surprise element I suppose) so that put all kinds of new pressure on us as we combed the baby books looking for that special name. 

For a boy we finally landed on Geoffery. At this point I can’t remember why, but that was the name. The only problem was the spelling. My wife wanted Jeffery and I wanted Geoffery. I must have thought it looked more special that way. More unique. We were still discussing the spelling on the way to the hospital so fortunately we had a girl. And by the way, everyone was right. She’s very special, and her name is Aimee.

When I sit down to write a post like this I probably think about the title too much. But it’s what grabs people’s attention. It’s the first thing they see and it can form, or at least influence their opinion of the post. I suspect the more intriguing or outrageous the title the more inclined people will be to read what follows. 

We put a lot into titles and names. In marketing, a name can be critical to a product’s positioning. When preaching, a title usually sums up my big idea. Titles and names are more than just labels. They’re indicators of sorts. They tell stories. They give hints or clues. This morning I read Isaiah 43. The last part of the very first verse jumped off the page. 

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. 

 

As I read this passage it strikes me that God doesn’t seem too concerned with our names. Evidently He knows them but that’s not what strikes me. The words that follow are what strike me. My name is not the focus. My name is pretty immaterial in this context. My name is not what matters most to God. What matters most to Him, and to me are the words that follow. You’re mine!

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