Thankful November. For A Name.
Most of the names of my children have meaning. Some are from the Bible. (Shiloh, Joshua, Beniah, Benjamin). Some are from Godly men of the past (Henry Martyn, Joshua Chamberlain, Stonewall Jackson). Some are family names (Wellington, Sophie). Some we simply liked (Gavin, India). When put in a specific combination and written on a specific birth certificate, they identify a completely unique individual.
Names are important.
Even a baby knows this. The first words my children learned (after dad, mama, and no), were the names of their siblings. They understood identity before they even had teeth.
The first responsibility God gave to Adam was to name every creature. The Creator didn’t choose the names for His creation, He asked the man to do it. It was Adam’s job to assign identity to each life he saw. (Mark Twain quoted Adam explaining why he chose as he did. “Why did you name that one elephant?” Eve asked. “Because it looked like an elephant!” Adam explained). He gave names based on appearance.
In current culture, identity is polarizing.
It’s defined by how you voted.
Your stance on masks and vaccines.
Your level of censorship on social media. Perhaps it’s rolled into how you regard your skin color, gender, economic standing, and demographic.
Your identity is connected to how you appear to others.
Like Adam, it’s based on first impressions.
It’s kind of shallow.
All names since Adam have been bestowed by humans, with a few exceptions. John the Baptist - and Jesus. Their identity alone was not based on impressions, heredity, or simply a pleasant roll off the tongue. Their names were breathed by God first. Their names needed to have more depth.
John’s name represented all the law and prophets before him. He stood for the words of God’s commandments bringing conviction to the people.
Jesus’ name represented all the love of God, past, present, future, embodied. He stood as the Word of God’s covenant breathing new life for the people.
My name was written under a mug shot, condemned by the words of the law and the prophets.
Jesus came and put His name under my photo instead. He crossed out “Condemned” and wrote in blood “Clean.”
When the Judge saw His name under my face, He called me by a new identity. I am no longer known by the name given by Adam and his descendants, names based on appearances.
I am known better now.
Someday, I’ll know that name, a new, unique identity written in stone (Revelation 2:17). But I claim it, because I am known by a greater Name. I am known by Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.
Appearances don’t get to ultimately define me. I serve a God who breathes life into being, who loves the broken, and who sees beyond masks and skin, the filters on Instagram and the lack of them on Twitter.
He knows who I am.
I am His.
Today, I am thankful for a name.