“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name” Psalm 91:14
I am terrible with names. It’s shameful really. I can meet a new person, ask them their name, and seconds later it’s lost to me. There is nothing so sweet to the human ear than the sound of our own name. I know this, and yet I still can’t remember names. I am so bad at names myself, that if someone does remember mine, I elevate them to sainthood. I feel like kneeling on one knee in their presence and kissing their hand.
I know why most of us forget names. It has to do with short term memory and being able to convert memories to long term storage. In all honesty, I learned all that while helping my oldest son pass a psychology exam in college. Forgive me. He needed the help, and he has no intention of studying psychology ever again. Sometimes mommas gotta do what mommas gotta do.
Name recognition is so important these days. In this world of instant access, the chance that someone can become an instant household name has pushed the fame envelope. With every new Facebook friend or Twitter follower we feel more and more valued. Someone else has wanted to connect with us. Someone else knows our name.
I’m guilty of this myself. My ego can get so big so quickly. I want you to read my blog. (So thank you for reading) I do mostly want you to read it to be encouraged, but if I am completely honest, just a little part of me wants you to know who I am. Why?
Because we have an innate desire to be known. We need people to get us, to know us, to recognize us. We need people to know our names because we need to be valued.
I have a friend who recently went through an experience where she was devalued. She had been a part of a large organization for nearly two decades. The CEO of the organization had been there as long, and had grown into that leadership position over a long period of time. My friend knew this person from way back, and had many interactions with him over the years. They were known to each other. Stepping off the elevator one day, my friend ran into the CEO who acknowledged her, but then asked her what her name was.
She was blown away, and frankly, insulted. But this CEO knew what many do not. He knew that if he pretended not to know her name, it devalued her. Due to a particular issue going on in the organization where they were on opposing sides, he needed her to feel devalued and belittled. He wanted her to feel unknown.
I can remember when we came to the church where we attend and serve; my kids were young tweens and teens. I knew it would be important for my kids that the youth pastor knew their names. The problem with that is that our church has as many as two thousand young people in attendance. It was ridiculous for me to expect that pastor to know my kid’s names. But I still asked God for that.
Never doubt God’s desire and ability to say yes. It would take me too long to tell you how our youth pastor came to know my kid’s names, but suffice it to say, God has his own way of doing things. Just a couple of months ago at our large monthly youth service, my second son was serving as a stage camera operator during the youth pastor’s message. The pastor needed my son to zoom in close and get a shot of what he was doing. He said, “Ryan, can you get a shot of this?” Not only does he know my son’s name, he recalled it in front of two thousand students. I couldn’t help laughing.
We want to be known. We want people to know our names. We want recognition. But we are confused. Why do we desire fame? Why do we care if people recognize us? Where does it all end? How many Facebook friends are enough Facebook friends?
Here’s the truth about name recognition. The Creator of the Universe knows your name. He knows you. He doesn’t forget your name. He never has to ask again what your name is. He’s got it. It’s already in long term storage. Do we really need more fame than that? The very One who created the stars and set them into motion knows
The desire we have to be known is so often misdirected. We should desire to know God and be known by him, and that alone should satisfy.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…” John 10