It was Friends’ Day and the building was packed. I was standing in the front of the building speaking to a few folks before we had our official welcome where we would stand and greet our visitors. One of our sweet little girls who sat on about the third row every week with her parents came running up to me and stuck her doll up in my face. She said, “brother Jeff, I brought my friend to church today.” I said, “that’s wonderful, what is her name?” She shook her finger at me and said, “brother Jeff, her name is Emma, you should have known her name, she’s been to this church before!”
I had a co-worker one time who grew up worshipping at the Madison church when Ira North was the preacher. He told me that at that time they had more than 5,000 members. As a teenager he was highly impressed that brother North not only knew his name and called him by his name when he saw him on Sundays, brother North would also ask him how his basketball season was going!
I have known people who have incredible memories. They can read something one time and remember it forever. They never forget names and they remember everything about people (I just can’t think of who they are right now It used to be that I couldn’t remember anybody’s name, but it is much better since I took that Bill Carnegie Course. It seems to me that it is important to try to remember people’s names. There have been times in my preaching where I have relied heavily upon my wife and children to help me with names.
There was a television program a few years ago with a theme song that contained the line, “Sometimes you want to go...where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” One of the great blessings of being a Christian is that we serve a Lord who always knows our name. In John 10:14 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.” In a society where many are known by social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, student numbers, etc. those who belong to Jesus are known by name. Not only does He know us by name, He also knows and understands what we are going through in this life. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
My young friend is correct. We need to know our brothers and sisters in the Lord by name. We should be aware of each other’s needs and concerns. We should love one another (John 13:34-35), accept one another (Romans 15:7), build up one another (Romans 15:14), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2), comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18), pray for one another (James 5:16), and forgive one another (Matthew 6:14-15).
Dear Father, help us to be thankful that we serve a shepherd who knows us by name. And help us to know each other's names and be concerned about one another. Father, help Your church to be the place where we can go where everybody knows our name, and where we are always glad we came!