Today’s devotional: whose names do you know?

I’m terrible with names. I’m ashamed to admit that several years after joining and getting involved with my church, there are still a few fellow churchgoers whose names slip my mind. At work, I pass people everyday in the hall whose names I have forgotten or never took the time to learn.

As I said, it’s embarassing. And it becomes even more so when I consider how many actors, politicians, and celebrities I could name off the top of my head–people I’ll never interact with in any way, yet whose names and faces are quite familiar because of their wealth, power, and fame.

There’s power in knowing somebody’s name–and we can learn something about ourselves by considering who in our lives we address by name–personally, directly, and meaningfully. That’s one of the messages in this Slice of Infinity devotional by Marageret Manning. Manning describes her involvement with a homeless ministry that

made a point out of calling people by name. As we participated in this ministry to the nameless among us, we learned their names–Bobby, Jim, Fred, John, Daniel, and Carl. We ate meals with them, and talked with them. We listened to them and shared prayer with them. We picked them off of the streets, and brought them into a place of warmth and solace. Soon, we couldn’t walk the streets of Boston without seeing these faces as persons we knew by name, the same faces who formerly were without names. Now I saw Bobby, and Jim, Fred, and John–and I called them by name; they were known to me, and they had value….

In our culture, our worth is largely determined in monetary measures, and by our buying power. Money and power are the things that our society teaches us to value, and we name the names of those who attain high levels of both. But to experience the kingdom Jesus reveals we need not have money or power. Rather, he calls the least and the last, children and the powerless. He calls the rich young ruler to use his money and power to serve others as a means of demonstrating his citizenship in the kingdom. He calls his followers to serve one another with the gifts that have been given. And he calls us to know those who might otherwise remain nameless.

Each of us is “nameless” to most of the society around us. But God comes to us personally, calling us by name–and He asks us to reach out in the same way to the “nameless” around us, whoever they may be. Who do you “call by name” each day? Will you commit to engaging the “nameless” around you as you go about your life at work, home, and church?

Comments are closed.