Thursday, November 6, 2014
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One of the good things about our yard was all the trees we had. One of the really bad things about our yard was all the trees we had; in the Fall that is. See, our town required the bagging of leaves, and we had the exciting challenge of raking and bagging over 100 bags every year! And as the kids left home, one by one, guess what...my labor force dwindled to one. Guess who?
Well, one day I was out there raking away-The Lone Raker. And suddenly an angel arrived in the yard. Well no, actually, it was our eight-year-old next door neighbor, Samantha. But she must be an angel. She said she wanted to help, and help she did. She raked, she bagged, she said, "Any time I hear you raking, I'm going to come over and help!" Man, this girl must have specially tailored sweaters to cover her wings. Well as Samantha was going for another bag, she told me why she'd come. She said, "My name means Someone Who Helps, so I'm helping." I love that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Living Up to Your Name."
Now, the girl next door has been named Helper, and she's living up to her name. People usually do live up to the names they're called...for better or worse. Acts chapter 4, verse 36, the Bible identifies a man who will become a trusted and important leader of the early Christian church. It calls him "Joseph, whom the apostles called Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement." Well later we see Barnabas go into action when the Christians are trying to decide how to handle the most notorious convert they had-Saul of Tarsus; the man who until recently had been the number one persecutor of the followers of Christ. But now he had met Christ.
Okay, our word for today from the Word of God: Acts 9:26, "He tried to join the apostles, but they were all afraid of him; not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles." Barnabas introduces Saul and opens the door for him to the apostles. Here's the Son of Encouragement putting an arm around a new believer and giving him a chance when no one else will.
That's the story of Barnabas's life. In chapter 11 we're told that the believers (who were almost all Jewish at this point) weren't sure how to respond to the news that Gentiles were coming to Christ in Antioch. Guess who they sent to check it out? "They sent Barnabas," it says. "When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord." What did he do? "Encouraged them all," what else would you expect from Mr. Encouragement?
Later, when Barnabas and Paul have a disagreement on a young missionary named Mark, it's Barnabas who takes a chance on this young man who actually flunked out once as a missionary and he disciples him into leadership. The point's obvious. Just like Samantha next door, Barnabas became what he was called; he did what his name indicated he would do.
Do the people around you remember and probably act out the names that they've been called? You know as parents I think we forget the power of our words to make our children feel very big or very small. Call them lazy, or stupid, or rebel, or uncaring. Chances are, that will imprint the tape in their heart and it'll play back their whole life. Think of how that affected you and how even as a grown up, maybe you're still playing back those tapes. They'll become what you call them. That's why it's so important to consistently call them what we want them to become; caring, unselfish, helper, listener, creative. Even when you see just a flash of a great trait, tell them how much that means to you.
Our mate tends to become what we call them; our workers, the people we minister to. And it's important to water what you want to grow with positive strokes and sincere praise. So look for the beauty in each person in your world. Look for the gifts they have; for a spark of what they could be if someone would just fan that spark. What you're really doing is helping a person see the masterpiece God made when He made them; the make-a-difference person that Jesus can make them.
I'm personally very thankful for some parents who called their daughter Helper. She was becoming what she'd been called, and you know what? That could happen to the people around you. So be sure you call them what Jesus would call them.