What’s in a name? Since time immemorial, we have names engraved on sculptures and wall plaques (and of course, tomb-stones as well). Some seek to make a name for themselves, while there are those whose names are made great by others.
Right from Genesis we hear the words of humanity – ‘ 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” ’
‘Let us, let us, let us.’ This self-centredness of looking out for oneself may be for survival. But for many, really, it is to enlarge one’s personal kingdom, being able to live the kind of life that is deemed as good by how the world sees it, enjoying the prestige of being recognised as one who has made it good in life.
Having said this, having a great name is not inherently wrong. One chapter later, in the famous call of God to Abraham, we read the words in Genesis 12:1-3, ‘ 1Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The difference in this instant however is that while what was said of those in Genesis 11 was having a personal desire to ‘make a name for ourselves’, here it is God who said to them – ‘I will bless you and make your name great.’
How might this be played out in our lives? One way is seeking to do what we know to be right in the eyes of God. For this, we turn our attention back to the refrain of ‘Let us, let us, let us.’ Only this time, we look at the call of the New Testament writer to the Hebrews who wrote in Hebrews 10:22-25 –
‘ 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’
The call of the writer is for us to strengthen our relationship with God by drawing near to Him. One important way of doing so is not to neglect ‘meeting together.’ Given the prevailing safety measures, it may not be as easy. But there is nothing to stop us from being an encouragement to one another. In fact, for such a time as this, it is all the more necessary that we help build up each other – by word and deed – through the channels that are available for us. Let us do what is helpful and right, looking out not merely in matters that pertain to our own personal interests, but in the interest of members in the church family as well.
Elder Richard Lai