Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Power of Naming

Gen 2:19
18-20 God said, "It's not good for the Man to be alone; I'll make him a helper, a companion." So God formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name. The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn't find a suitable companion. The Message

I'm in an introspective mood. I've been reading notes from my journal...a mishmash of my thoughts, responses to sermons or lessons and occasionally a few notes from a sermon. I came across notes I had taken during a message preached by Timothy Vowell a few months ago. At this point I'm not sure how much is my thoughts and ideas and how much I'm lifting from his sermon. So I'll just give general credit now.

Native Americans had a custom of waiting to name a infant until the child distinguished itself in some way to merit a name. Thus names like "Runs-Swiftly", "Straight Arrow", and "Sitting Bull" were given.

Today most of us are given names by parents. Sometimes parents search diligently for just the right name; sometimes the name is whatever is in vogue at the time. However, for us to say names don't matter to us as Americans is easily refuted by any child who has been adopted or has had a stepfather. Last names imply belonging and association. Sometimes it implies social status or rank, as in Clayton Langston, III. (That name is totally fake, I hope. My memory sometimes drags things out that are inappropriate. No implication is intended other than "the third.")

Life sometimes unjustly name us, "Failure." People unjustly name us with teases, taunts and nicknames that hurt.

In Genesis 35:16, rachel is in labor. She had wanted more from God. In her bitterness she named the child "Beoai" which means "Son of my sorrow." Jacob (the child's father) immediately said, "No. His name is "Benjamin" which means "Son of my Blessing."

Jacob knew what it meant to have an unjust name. His name meant "deceiver or supplanter." He didn't want that experience for his son. He had a choice and he changed the baby's name. God later changed Jacob's name to "Israel."

We have choices in naming things too. We were given the power of naming. We can speak things into existence. For example, is what you are facing now a "trial" or a "challenge?" Tomorrow I may have "problems" or "oppotunities." You may be walking in a "valley" or it can be a "place of rest." And from the mountaintop, we have an excellent view of the world if we can get our sight and attention off of self for just a bit.

As I looked up this scripture, I realized that the part about naming is bracketed on either side by references to Adam finding a spouse. He named her "Eve" mother of all life. What have you named your spouse today? "Honey Bun" or "Doofus?" "Love" or Irritation? Hmmmm. I'm just sayin....

You have the power of naming. What will you call into existence? "Conflicts" or relationship opportunities??



truth said...

Thank-you for the very timely reminder. This is the second time today that I was reminded about the power of life and death in the words I speak. Hmmm...don't think it is coincidental.

And yes, names are very important. I liked how you mentioned asking a child with a stepfather, etc. My brother has a stepson. The boy asked him if he could call him "dad." Not wanting to hurt the feelings of the boy's father, he said "how about coming up with another name. You already have a dad." I don't think my brother realized that because he had to call him something different than the younger half sisters, it made him feel second class.

His Girl said...

this is a wonderful wonderful post. thank you for sharing it. i am going to read that again... good stuff

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