From the beginning God named that which He loved. “Adam”. “Eve”. He next told Adam to name the animals, and naming became part of taking dominion. There is an authority involved in placing a name on something, and we name things we care about and things that we own. We put names on our children, we give nicknames to our friends, we bestow titles like “dad” on ones we love. We are naming creatures.
When Christ came, Mary and Joseph were not allowed to name their child because He would have a greater Father. And when Jesus began His ministry, He felt free to rename those who would be his disciples, such as Simon called Peter and the sons of Zebedee called “Boanerges”. He named those He loved.
When we go to buy milk it is a quick task. But what if you knew everyone in the market? And even more, what if you cared about them? Then you would have the heart of Christ. In saying that, though, Christ didn’t touch everyone or stop to call every person by name – He had a particular ministry with particular people in particular areas for particular purposes. He had a calling.
I am learning to trust my Gardener to prepare the soil of some particular plots. My calling is to the poor and needy, but they are too many and I am overwhelmed. I realized this week that if everyone had a name my heart, soul, and body would break. So I asked the Name above all Names to bring to me the faces He wants to name for me in order to fulfill His purposes and ministry.
An old friend has told me a number of times (in different ways), that the things which distract holy-livers aren’t Saturday-night parties or adultery, they are the needy and hopeless situations that are outside of their focus or calling. If everyone in the market had a name, the milk would never be bought. But if you remember that the milk is the focus then you might very well enjoy one or two conversations along the way.