As I read through the Bible again this year, I found myself back in the book of 1 Chronicles today. I had settled in to be impacted by the power of God's Word and found myself in nine chapters of names and genealogy. I'll be honest and say that I didn't exactly read those chapters word for word. I know that any part of the Bible is important and that God can communicate through it. In fact, that's what I kept telling myself as I read (quickly) through each list of names. My primary thought however was that I didn't know these people. Most of them didn't have "lead roles" in the early history of the Bible and weren't taught in children's church, youth ministry or in many adult worship settings. Their names just didn't mean that much to me.
Of course their names meant something to someone when they were alive. They were important to their families and obviously important enough in the story of God to be mentioned. Each person played their part-both good and bad-in what God had done and was continuing to do. The brief mention of their name was an homage to their personal story and the contribution they made to where we are today. It may not matter much to us, but I know they matter to God.
It ended up being a more valuable lesson than I anticipated. What are the names of people around me that I don't even know? What part are they playing in the story that God is continuing to write? Am I willing to care enough to see their significance and acknowledge that our combined lives are part of God's larger tale?
I need to remember this simple truth: every name matters because it represents a life that matters.