Since Janet and I first dated, names have been something that have been something of a sore spot. When we were young (remember that we have known each other since we were 5 years old), things were simple. I was Scott and she was Janet. Then, when we were a little older, we started playing tennis together and I made the mistake of calling her “Jannie” – a name reserved exclusively for use by her father. I was soundly reminded of that and it was more than a quarter of a century before I ever tried that again. Although I must say that having been married for more than 41 years, I have now earned the right to use the once forbidden name – as a term of endearment – and not too often, I might add.
But that’s not all the issues with names. When Janet applied for a passport after we were married, her birth certificate was incorrect. Janet’s mother had first decided to name her “Judith” and then changed her mind. Unfortunately, the corrected paperwork was never submitted to the state and so we had a very difficult time getting the name “Janet” officially entered on to her birth certificate. After months of sworn affidavits, baptism certificates and marriage records, Janet finally became legally “Janet” – for the first time in her life – in her twenties.
Since then, we have paid more attention to names. I was named “Scott” because there really weren’t any nicknames for it. On the other hand, Janet has dealt with Jan, Jane and a host of other names that she doesn’t answer to. But throughout our marriage, both of us have noticed that women tend to get their names used less often than their husbands. In fact, Janet has fought name recognition for most of our married life. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we have received an invitation for Mr. Scott Toussaint and Guest. At first, it bothered Janet far more than it bothered me, but now the reverse is true.
I have been on a mission to make sure that Janet gets equal billing in every meeting, event and on every invitation. I know that it took a long time to get to this point, but it really irks me when her name is mis-spelled or she is not addressed by her correct name. Last week, it happened again. We were invited to a bank function and sure enough, the invitation was addressed to Scott and Janice. Janet is getting to the point of finding humor in these mistakes, but I decided to make a point. So I responded that “Scooter and Janice” wouldn’t be able to make the event. It brought a number of laughs but in the middle of it all, one friend at the bank really saw through the facade and knew that I was growing weary of the lack of attention to detail.
Today he called me to apologize and he also let me know that the person who addressed the invitations must have already been thinking about an upcoming vacation when she addressed ours. Nonetheless, I made my point. It just seems strange to me that after so many years, we still have the struggles with people using our correct names.
The good news is that there is one time that you never have to worry about your name being forgotten. That’s whenever you are involved with God. Not only did He create you, but He knows every hair on your head and every day that was ordained for you before any of them came to pass. Moreover, for those who have accepted the gift of eternal life, they have a bond with God that time and distance can’t erase. The verse for this evening is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where we are told, in Phil. 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Paul saw that “knowing” Christ was most important – and to be “known” by Christ goes automatically with the territory.
My encouragement this evening is that Christ desires to know you as you walk in your daily life. You can accept or reject his offer to live life by your side. My prayer is that you will invest in knowing and being known by the Creator of the universe. After all, He will never forget your name – and that’s for all time… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…