But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalms 139:1-6
I met a pastor this past week in a crowded lobby at a local church. It was the second time I had met him, the first being almost two months ago. I was impressed that as I greeted him, he remembered my name and asked me specific and relevant questions about me and my family. It was quite obvious to me that he valued knowing people’s names and was very good at it, something that I have always struggled with.
That event reminded me of another story I read some time ago. The story was about Billy Graham at a breakfast meeting with a number of influential businessmen. As the breakfast meeting concluded, the waiter asked Mr. Graham if he would sign one of the $20 dollar bills Billy Graham had given him for payment and if it would be all right for him to keep it as an autograph. Bill Graham recognized the waiter, as he had been at this same restaurant a year earlier, and was able to recall both the waiter’s name and then ask him specific questions about his family. This was one thing that Billy Graham was known for and something he prided himself in…asking and remembering people’s names.
I am always impressed when someone has that kind of memory for names and the details of another’s life. Even more, I am impressed when a prominent public figure takes the time to show interest and concern for someone in a different social class.
The Apostle Paul was apparently someone like this as well. When I read Romans 16, Paul mentions 29 people’s names. In the 13 letters and epistles ascribed to Paul in the New Testament, Paul mentions the names of 93 people. Evidently, Paul recognized the importance of recognizing people and the importance of mentioning them by name.
These examples remind me that recalling people’s names is an important distinctive of a good leader and should also be of high value for anyone that desires to reflect the nature and character of our Lord. To commit someone’s name to memory is the starting point for loving your neighbor. As followers of Jesus, we should practice the art of learning and remembering people’s names!
“I have called you by name; you are mine, says the Lord.” Isaiah 43:1
Prayer: Thank you Lord that you know me, you know my name, and you know the details of my life. May I be someone that values and loves those around me just like you value and love me. Help me to commit their names to memory. Help me love them as you have loved me. Amen!