I don’t often hear my name spoken. There’s a lot of “Mummycomewipemybottoooom!” (full volume, echoing into the neighbourhood!)
There’s “Aw, mu-um, pleeease can I watch the iPad until I make Oscar the Grouch look like a sweet little kitten?”
Oh, and there’s “Go ask your mum,” and “Want a cuppa Mummy?” because even hubby has it on default.
I love being a mum. LOVE it. And I love being called “Mummy,” “Mum,” “Mama,” and even “Mumazella” (my son’s invention). But I cannot deny that when I hear my name spoken by loved ones, the one written on my birth certificate, a shock wave travels up my spine. It takes a little moment to subconsciously remind myself that the arrangement of those letters just uttered, that single syllable, belongs to me.
Is this sounding strange?
It could be a mum thing. Or maybe people in positions of leadership get it too – when you’re so used to honorifics of Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir and so on that your own name sounds foreign. Perhaps people who have worn nicknames and abbreviated versions of their name know the feeling too.
Where’s this going? I’m glad you asked.
I’ve been thinking about honour in the context of faith lately; what it is and how I can do it better. Chewing it over with friends, we spoke of obedience and love and time. But in a moment of stillness, God whispered my own name in my ear, and I heard with clarity the honour of speaking a name. And I recognised how I could honour Him by simply speaking His name.
“Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
– Psalm 8:1 (NIV)
‘How often do I speak the name of Jesus?’ was the question I had to answer.
I thought of all the opportunities I have in a week, in a day even, to speak Jesus, and Father and Holy Spirit into people’s lives, yet I let them slip away. Imagine … if I’d responded to the “How’s your day going?” from the guy scanning my groceries with how my day’s really going:
“Awesome! I prayed for God’s peace this morning and despite having so much to do, I’ve had a wonderful day with such joy in my heart!”
Well, yes, it would be weird. But in a good way, right? I’m ok with weird anyway.
Honour is wrapped tightly with glory. I think we honour God by giving Him glory for what’s going on in our lives. There are many ways to honour God, but pointing people to Him by giving credit where it’s due is one of them. And that makes it super easy to drop his name into everyday conversation. It’s not, “My headaches have finally stopped!” it’s “After praying with friends about my persistent headaches, God answered and I haven’t had one since!” That’s a true story by the way. Happened last week.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
– Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
I was on a bus travelling to Toowoomba recently, eavesdropping on a conversation between the driver and a bloke working FIFO. Hard not to when you’re in a confined space for several hours and the conversation is being bellowed above the drone of engine and aircon.
I noticed something.
They both kept affirming each other’s name.
“Yeah, Andrew, been workin’ up North for 18 months now.”
“And how’s yer mum ‘n’ dad, Richard, they still in that place near the old corner shop?”
“Nah, they’ve moved now Andrew, downsized…”
It wasn’t as clunky as it most likely reads. In their blokey, middle-aged way, it sounded respectful and friendly. Like they were honouring each other by speaking their names. Not “mate” or “cobber”, or any of those names in place of names forgotten.
Listening to that kind of exchanged warmed me from the inside, reminded me that God is all about relationship; with Him and with others.
There’s also this cyclic thing going on. As followers of Christ, we bear His name. We are sons and daughters of God, heirs to the throne. So when we honour God, when we speak His name, the glory rebounds and reverberates simply because of who we are. Gives me tingles.
Speaking names, hey, seems there’s more to it than I thought. He has always known me by name, and I am committed to proclaiming His name.
“The watchman opens the gate for [the Shepherd], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
– John 10:3-5 (NIV)
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NKJV)