November 9, 2009

What's in a Name?

Making my way across the hospital cafeteria bustling with healthcare workers finishing their lunch, I was fast approaching the last few directions on my crinkled sheet of paper. The instructions had done well to guide me into the main lobby of the huge facility, left down a tight, dark, and busy corridor, a zig zagg right to the “orange” elevators, and down to level B. Once off the carrot colored lift, I was aimed to the right and then left across the cafeteria to a meeting room where I had full intentions of being prompt, present, and ready for CPR class.

Opening the door to the classroom I half expected a room full of doctors conducting a work-lunch, but was pleased to see I had indeed arrived in the right place. Sitting around tables assembled in a “U” fashion, I saw four fellow students waiting by their CPR adult and infant dummies. There seemed to be plenty of dummies to go around so I knew I’d made good time.

Upon entering the room the first thing I saw was a sign-in sheet and handouts. The dog-eared corners of the handouts were a dead giveaway they were not ours to keep. They had been used before and would be used again, so we’d be asked to hand them in at the end of class. After signing in I reached for a hand out and noticed the one on the top of the stack had the name “Kim” written in ink on the upper right corner. In one easy motion I slid it to the side and took the nameless one underneath. Interestingly enough the guy behind me did the same thing.

I love watching human behavior. It never ceases to amaze me as I try to figure out why we do the things we do. I am convinced that even though some of our actions may be bizarre and unexplainable, we all do what we do for a reason. It may not necessarily be a good reason, but it’s a reason that motivates us just the same. In this case I find it fascinating that I instinctively didn’t want the handout with Kim’s name on it and I’d wager to guess the CPR students before me slid her aside as well. The question is why? What’s wrong with using a handout that has someone else’s name on it? It was the same life-saving information, yet I shunned it as if it were substandard material. I even knew I’d be handing it in at the end of class, yet still selected a non-named sheet.

I found this observation so fascinating I ran an experiment on the ladies of the Sunday school class I co-teach. I was planning to share this story about Kim’s unwanted paper so I wrote the name Kim on the top right corner of one handout. Placing it on top of the stack I handed out the outlines. As I told the story three ladies on the back row began to snicker. Knowing they’d had an encounter with Kim I asked them to explain. Confessing and confirming what I had expected, I learned that just like the students in my CPR class, they had rejected the named outline too. The lady who ended up with it took it only because it was the last sheet and she crossed out Kim, replacing it with her own name. Oh don’t you just love it?

After working years in women’s ministry if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that no one wants a mistake in their identity. Women want their nametags correct and will let you know one way or another. Some come right out and tell you so you’ll get it right the next time, while others simply conduct their own spell check by using a Sharpie Marker to correct the error. Accepting our name misspelled simply goes against our grain. Why? Because we are unique creatures of God. Handmade in His image we are one of a kind. That's why we go to great lengths to protect our uniqueness.

There is another with a name like no other. He is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. No one goes to the Father but by Him and He is the Light of the world! He created us, He died for us, and He loves us. Take the time to praise His Holy Name today. We owe Him our lives.

"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


Revelation 19:16

1 comment:

Cheryl Barker said...

Wonder what we'd do if Jesus's name was on the paper??

By the way, my Siesta memory verse right now is John 8:12 - "...he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"

So thankful for His light!