Without looking it up, do you know the name of your great great grandmother or grandfather? If you do, I’m willing to bet you’re in the minority. Which tells me that I’m likely just a few generations away from my name being forgotten. And, so is yours. I know what you’re thinking, “Gee, thanks! As if today isn’t tough enough as it is!” I promise I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. And, allow me to explain why this actually brings me great comfort.
We have a choice. We can exhaust ourselves on this earth making a name for ourselves. Climbing the corporate ladder, collecting wealth, seeking popularity. But, no matter what, that name will be temporary. It will one day be forgotten. Or, we can choose to spend our energy and time creating a life that points to the only thing that is eternal- God.
Again, we must remember the context. Today’s words are the second half of a sentence:
“He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
He doesn’t guide us along the right paths so that we’ll have a happy, easy life. No. He guides us along the right paths so that our lives will point to Him! God nurtures, guides, and protects us along the correct path so that ultimately we live lives that reflect the love of Jesus.
Is God an egomaniac? Is He callously sitting on His throne with a smug smile on His face, waiting for us to worship Him in an effort to feed His ego? No. God is completely self sufficient. He doesn’t need anything from His creation. There is nothing we can give Him that He needs. So, then, what does this verse mean?
He loves us. He loves every single one of us, whether we acknowledge Him or not. And, one of the avenues He uses to draw us into relationship with Him is each other. So, I believe that David is explaining that God takes care of us because He loves us, and because when we receive and then share that love, His Kingdom multiplies.
Several months ago I had the joy of sitting down to coffee with Angela Thomas Pharr. I gleaned from the wisdom she’s gained as a Christian author and speaker for many years. She said something that I hope to never forget: “Make known the name of Jesus. If you’re stepping into this to make a name for yourself, you will be stepping away from God’s design for you. If your goal is to make the name of Jesus known, then you’re on the right path.”
Angela was reiterating the words shared through David thousands of years ago.
This is why I actually find comfort in knowing my name will be forgotten within a few generations. Taking the focus off myself also takes the pressure off. It removes the pride and self righteousness that threatens to consume and distract. I just don’t have the energy or the stamina to make it about me. But, following Jesus, living in a way that points others to Him? That feels much more sustainable, but, only with the help of the Holy Spirit and my Good Shepherd’s guidance.
How, today, can we live lives that point to the glory of God’s name?
send a restaurant gift card to a healthcare worker
thank a grocery store clerk
- take a walk outside with a child who’s melting down from online learning
place a paper heart in a visible window for a neighborhood kid to seek
write an encouraging message on a neighbor’s driveway in sidewalk chalk
call an elderly or high risk person you know and check in on him/her
text 5 people who may need your encouragement
- leave a love note on your spouse’s pillow
Jesus, during this time of the Coronovirus crisis, fear temps us to focus on ourselves. Thank you for guiding us. Give us eyes to see how we can make choices each day to glorify Your name and keep our focus on You. Amen.