Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Known: Power of a Name

There is a story from my time in youth ministry in Florida that I will never forget. There was a young man named Thomas that started to come to our high school ministry on Tuesday nights. I introduced myself when he first showed up, sent him a postcard the next day, and then talked with him again when he came back the next week. He become a regular part of the group and would attend most of our events and services.

He dropped by my office one weekday afternoon to talk about some issues he was having at home. I walked him out of the office when we were done and told him that I would see him later that week. He walked out the door and then stopped to come back in. He looked at me and said, "Do you know why I came back here after the first time I visited? It's because you remembered my name."

There is great power in our name being known. I'm not talking about social media followers or other forms of popularity, but the great power shared in speaking a name in a personal connection. It's an intimate familiarity formed with compassion, pride, and a desire to connect. It's an affirmation of the name that we've been given and the respect we are showing to each other. It reflects the ingrained principle that we want to be known.

While some may dismiss my statements, I have seen enough evidence to know how encouraging this can be. It inspires me to continue to work to know and speak the names of people that I encounter.

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