I am an educator.
An effective educator has many traits, and one of them is learning their students’ names as soon as possible.
Before school even started, I knew most of my students’ names. I wrote them on the name tags for their desks, on the name tags for their lockers, on the name tags for their mailboxes, on the squirrels for the bulletin board that said “We are NUTS about School.” 😊🐿
My goal was to know all 30 of my students’ names by the end of the first day (yes, I had 30 third graders my first year of teaching). For the most part, I succeeded.
When I was an elementary principal, I would go to the lunch room every day and say the names of the students who were sitting in their grade levels at their assigned lunch table. The students enjoyed this because they liked testing me. This took a lot longer than one day to learn all the names of the students, but I would generally succeed.
Now as a college professor, I still know it is vital to learn the names of all my students. I find it more difficult when I only see my students once or twice a week. I give it my best effort and yet still make mistakes (sorry Rebecca for calling you Rachel 😏).
Names…they are so important.
Did you know that God knows YOUR name? Isaiah 43:1 tells us it is true “…I have redeemed you; I have called you by name…”
Did you know that God loves you? Jeremiah 31:1 says it perfectly “…I have loved you with an everlasting love…”
I don’t know about you, but I find comfort in these verses. God knows my name and He loves me. My name…Wendy…is important to Him. Your name, ______, is important to him. Wow! Let that sink in for a bit.
In the book Love Has a Name, author Adam Weber, founder and lead pastor of Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, shares stories about people who have loved him and who he has learned to love.
Pastor Adam begins by retelling the story of Zacchaeus. Remember him? 🎵 Zacchaeus was a wee little man; a wee little man was he.🎵 Jesus knew his name, and loved Zacchaeus before He even met him.
The first name story in this book to resonate with me was about Brett. Brett is one who taught Pastor Weber that love heals through unlikely people. Brett’s story gave me such joy because I am a professor at SMSU and he graduated from there (which I discovered because I read ALL footnotes in the back of the book while I was reading the book. It’s a must. You will be happy you did). We are Mustangs for Life, right Brett? 🐴
Chapter 10 is titled Becky|Love Washes Feet which if you remember, Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples…even the one who betrayed him. And the most amazing thing about that is Jesus knew this disciple would betray him. That takes some serious love to do that.
When I thought about washing feet, Sara came to my mind. She is the one who gives me my pedicure. She pampers me by washing and massaging my feet then painting my toes. All I can say is THANK YOU, Sara!!! Not sure I could do that for others. Could any of you? Pastor Weber will give suggestions on how you CAN do this for others. Read the book.
The stories of those names Pastor Weber has learned to love were astounding. Tony, Mark, Captain, F-Man (yup, that F stands for what you are thinking it stands for), A.C. Kidd (read this story to find out what those initials stand for), and Jillian, the Angel Wings lady (thank you for the beautiful artwork). All are remarkable stories.
The story that hit my heart the most in this section was the story about Mark. Mark…the know it all. Mark…the one who thinks he’s right about everything. Mark…the one who starts false rumors about us. Mark…the two-faced brat. Mark…the one who makes us angry and frustrated and confused. And, as Pastor Adam says in his book, Mark…the one who we want to body slam!
What do we do about all those people in our lives named “Mark?” (Nothing personal if your name is Mark). Well, Pastor Weber has some great thoughts on this issue. Sorry…my lips are zipped. You will have to read the book if you want to know what his great thoughts are. 🤐
I do have to give away one part though. In Chapter 20, Pastor Adam shares about the mural that was created in the alley by his house. Jillian is an artist who painted angel wings on this backdrop. This beautiful artwork made the news and now people come from near and far to take their picture by the wings.
Because I live within 50 minutes of Sioux Falls, SD, I decided to take my daughter and her family on an angel wing hunt last week, and guess what? We found some. What a treasure. The pictures speak for themselves. Thank you, Jillian. 👼
Each story in this book is beautiful. And so is yours! And so is mine! We need to tell our stories. Who knows who we may help. Love has a name and it is all of ours. YOU, me, ALL of us. Jesus loves us and knows our name. That is a real treasure. So is this book. I highly recommend you read Love Has a Name by Adam Weber.