PASTOR'S PEN: What's in a name?

When I was a teenager I dreamed of preaching all over the world. I enjoyed listening to various preachers and evaluating their style to see if I would like to preach the way they did. I would hear some and think, "I hope I don’t bore people like that." Others I would hear and think, "I want to preach with the same passion they do."

One preacher I admired quite a lot was Ken Rudolph. He was a representative at the college I would one day attend. He spoke with enthusiasm and it was obvious he enjoyed what he was doing. He would preach all over the U.S. and various parts of the world. He would preach the Word of God with a love for it and desire for others to know what it said and follow it. He unmistakably cared for those whom he taught. I respected him, listened to him and hoped to be like him some day.

One day, after attending college for a few years, Ken Rudolph came up to me. He somehow knew of my love of NASCAR, which he also possessed, and asked me by name if I would like to go with him to his favorite NASCAR store and look at their diecast cars. Though that may be a day he doesn’t even recall, it is one I remember and treasure. That was the day I knew Ken Rudolph knew my name.

The other day I was able to do a similar thing. A teen was in the grocery store and I said, "Hi __________," mentioning his name. He was surprised I knew his name because he thought people only knew his brother. There’s a lot of value in a name. People like to know that others, especially those they look up to, know their name.

The Bible tells us of one who knows the names of those whom He’s called. God knows my name. In Isaiah 43:1 God tells Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine." God had called out Israel. He had bought them and He knew them by name.

Jesus Christ says the same about His followers in John 10:3, "The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him (the Shepherd), and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out."

If you are a Christ follower you never need to wonder if anyone knows who you are or cares about you. God, the Father, is devoted to His children and knows them all by name. How amazing! — The Creator of the world, the Ruler of the Universe, the King over all kings knows your name. That’s certainly something to rejoice over.