I have an unusual name. When I introduce myself to someone I often say “I’m the only Nord you ever met, and maybe the only Zootman.” The Zootman family is small and I have truly never run across another person named Nord. It has its advantages – I never have to ask which Nord people are talking to, and it is easily remembered. That raises an interesting question though: why do I care if people remember my name? The answer of course is that it feeds my pride. We like it when people know who we are. It makes us feel important that our name is recognized by others.
There is something good about having a “good name,” that is, a good reputation. Ecclesiastes 7:1 says; “A good name is better than precious ointment.” Because we recognize that truth we often in subtle or not so subtle ways promote our name. We like to have others note our good works, and when others get credit for something positive we have done we are less than happy. That happened to me just the other day when someone was given credit for my work and accepted praise that I thought should go towards me.
I found myself immediately feeling peevish. (I know, it was a childish reaction, but that is where we sometimes are in our thinking). I didn’t say anything, but found myself quite irritated. That is when the Holy Spirit reminded me of a verse I used just last week. In Psalm 103 God is glorified for his ongoing mercy, grace and love and mankind is placed in contrast because of our short lifespan on this globe. Verses 15 and 16 say: ” As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” It was that last phrase that got my attention. There are a lot of places where people have never heard of Nord Zootman, but at Lockport Church everyone knows my name. I have been pastor here for 34 years and they know me in this place.
As I read that verse I realized afresh that someday people won’t know my name even in this community. As time passes we are forgotten. That shouldn’t sadden us as Christians, because it is not our name that we should be promoting; rather it is the name of Christ Jesus that we pray is impressed on people’s minds and hearts. Scripture says; “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (Phil. 2:10 ESV)” and ” there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)”
I am glad that He knows my name, but it really isn’t a big deal if you do. He knows the things I have done to serve Him and He knows when I did those things for his names sake or for my own. My name is unusual, but there is no name like his! May we learn to promote the name of Jesus and not our own!