The only One who can name you is the One who created you.
Recently, at a staff meeting for chaplains at a hospital where I work, I met our new Missions Director for the first time, and said, “My name is Eddie, but I answer to whatever any one calls me” She politely reminded me that names are important.
And they are. And so are labels, the ones we give ourselves and the ones others hung on us and, to some extent, we believe. For the most part my relationship with my father was good, and together we made some great memories. Yet, I will never forget when I was unsuccessful at solving a fourth-grade long division problem and he called me “stupid.”
Though I now have several degrees, including a doctorate, I never liked math. Perhaps, to some degree, I accepted that in mathematics I was “stupid.”
God, in the book of Exodus, took the important name or label, “I Am that I Am.” Jesus, as the only Son of God, said, “I am,” The Good Shepherd; The Light of the World; The Bread; The Way, Truth and the Life; The True Vine, and The Resurrection and the Life. His fellow countrymen, wanted to kill Him when He declared Himself divine by saying,”Before Abraham was I AM.”
By acknowledging Christ as Savior, we inherit a number of labels, including: Children of the Light, The Beloved, Redeemed, Chosen, Blessed, Saints, Stones of a Crown, His Handiwork, Masterpiece, Apple of His Eye, Ministers of God, a Royal Priesthood and Sons of the Living God, to name a few.
During visits with patients, I listen in confidence to intimate details of their lives, confessions of past wrongs, their need for forgiveness, disappointments, grief and even anger with God. Only after listening, do I sparingly offer spiritual counsel and more often prayer. During visits, many ask if they should call me Father, Pastor, or Minister. I tell them I’m simply Chaplain Eddie. If I ever have a tombstone, I hope it shows up there.
I ask each of you to join me in rebuking any painful label we’ve been called, and ask the Lord to stop us from hanging labels on others, especially those we love. And lastly, may we take up, embrace and verbally call ourselves the labels God gives us.
After all, how could I possibly be stupid about anything, if I am, “The Apple of God’s eye”?
Remember, the only One who can name you is the One who created you.