…I have called you by name and you are mine…Isaiah 43
The sound of our name can be such a sweet sound. There is something about a sincere hello followed by my name that makes me smile. Think for a minute about all the places you find your name. I thought recently about the power of our name as I wrote the name of each of my little lovelies about a dozen times. I put their name on all their books, on a lunch magnet, on a coat hook, on a behavior chart and several other places throughout the room. I want them to know they belong…that they have a spot and that somebody knows them by name. As I wrote their name all those times it was my task to pray for each one of them as I wrote their name. Our prayers should be specific so I wanted to lift them each up in prayer by name.
One day shortly before school started my daughter visited the classroom and she was helping me put things in order. She sat down and stared at the book shelf with all the children’s names and just smiled as if she was lost in thought. After a few minutes had passed, I asked her what she was thinking and she said, “I wonder if that is a little like heaven, you know, with my name written on a spot just for me.” As we were talking about it I remembered a thought I hadn’t thought since I was a little girl. My Grandpa
Ted owned a grocery store in the small town where he lived. Inside the store was the town post office and Grandpa was not only the store owner but the postmaster. We were never allowed to go into the room where he sorted mail and took care of postal business but I remember the rows of mail boxes. The doors to the small boxes were shiny gold with ornate designs. Each box had a little window and a dial that was turned to match the correct combination. Each box had a number on it assigned to a specific person. I used to sit and stare at those beautiful gold boxes and imagine heaven to be sort of like those beautiful windows. I thought each box would have a name and it we would all know our spot when we got to heaven. At the age of 4, those rows of fancy golden boxes were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen…thank goodness my vision of heaven has expanded, but part of the image is the same…I like the thought of my Heavenly Father knowing exactly who I am and I work hard every day to try to get myself to heaven so I can take my spot in a space meant just for me.
I taught a class last week called “Passing Through the Narrow Gate” and as I prepared for the class one of the things I found very interesting was that in the time of Jesus, many of the big cities were surrounded by walls and there would be huge entrance gates where caravans and large groups of people could enter. It was easy to get into the city that way. Each city also had a small or narrow gate as well. This gate was much more difficult to pass through. It was difficult not only because of its size but because it was guarded and passage was reserved for certain people. In this parable Jesus was teaching that the wide gate can represent the way to destruction and lead away from Him and Heaven but the narrow gate represented a life of denying ourselves and following Him in the way that leads to Eternal Life. Passage is certainly possible through the narrow gate but it requires more thought, more effort, more prayer and more intentional living. The part I found really interesting is that the narrow gate was reserved for the most precious; the most important and those people had to be identified and recognized. Jesus was saying to us in this parable that if we want to pass through that narrow gate and join Him eternally, He has to know our name and recognize our voice. We are His precious and chosen people and He wants to meet each of us at that narrow gate. If we want to be identified by Him then, we have to spend time with Him now so He will know our voice and our heart. Scripture tells us that the words that await us when we pass through that narrow gate are “well done (name) my good and faithful servant.” I love the sound of my name on earth, but I’m really looking forward to the day when I might hear my name and find a spot reserved just for me in Heaven.
A Seed To Plant: Pick five people this week that you can hug, shake hands with or smile at while speaking the words, “Hello (name) God bless your day! Stand back…great things will happen! If you’d like to do some extra credit, buy a key chain, mug or trinket for someone that has their name on it.
Blessings on your day!