On more than one occasion through the years, my name has been confused with some others who have the same or similar names. Most recently, I received several emails from a college student asking me to review his notes for a Bible lesson he had prepared. I informed him that I would be glad to review his notes, but I thought he had me confused with someone else. He wrote back saying, no he was not confused and that I should remember telling him at lunch that I would review his notes. He was so certain that he sent me additional lessons to review.
Once again I wrote him and said I would be honored to review his lessons but that as far as I knew we had not had lunch together. He finally wrote back and said, “Sorry, man, I thought you were Jeffrey Jinkerson. I appreciate, I will email to him. I hope u have a good day!” Well I enjoyed the exchange and had a good laugh out of it.
Other times, name confusion has not been so pleasant for me. There is a man who was a preacher who shares my name (even spelled the same way) who has caused me some grief through the years.
On his first Sunday preaching in a new church, he reportedly took a guitar into the pulpit, sat on a porch swing and sang “Home, Home on the Range.”
On another occasion, he was speaking for a workshop that involved a number of men who were quite liberal in their theology. I received a number of emails from friends expressing their disappointment in me for speaking on the workshop. One was quite scathing. By the way, here I would just like to say that before we “let someone have it,” shouldn’t we do our homework to make sure we are correct and shouldn’t we do a better job of giving the benefit of the doubt to others? The question asked of me was not, “Jeff, are you lending your support to this event?” The question was, “Jeff, why in the world would you do something like this?”
There have been some times that I have been (not my name) confused with others. Several times in the past people have told me I look like Bill Gates. I don’t see it, but I would like a little (okay a lot) of his money!
There was the time on a plane when two women were sitting across from me staring at me and whispering. One leaned over and said, “Can I ask you a question?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Bill Gates?” I said, “Yes ma’am, it has happened more than once.” The ladies went back to whispering for a few minutes, and then the lady leaned over and said, “Can I ask you another question?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “Are you Bill Gates?” I laughed and said, “Ma’am, if I were Bill Gates, I would not be flying Southwest Airlines!”
People were always confusing Jesus with others. People thought He was Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. Others thought He was John the Baptist (Matthew 16:16-17). The confused Christ with others because of the way He dressed, the way He lived His life, the way He taught His message.
So what about those of us who are representing Jesus? Do people know who we are? Do people in our family, at school, on our team, at our work, etc. recognize what we are about? How can we make sure those around us know that Jesus is living in us.
Be Clear About our Purpose
Our purpose in this life is to glorify God. We need to be clear to those around us that more than anything else in this life we want to glorify our Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Be Concrete with our Principles
Every person has some principles by which they live their life. The principles we live by will affect every decision we make. As intelligent or as wise be believe we are we cannot make it on our own (Jeremiah 10:23).
The only way we can be successful in this life is to allow God to guide us. A wise man said a long time ago, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:4-5)
Be Confident in our Position
The Apostle Paul reminds us that in Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). If we are walking in the light as Jesus is in the light, His blood will continue to cleanse us of our sins (1 John 1:8).
As long as we are living for Him no one can take our position away from us. We do not have to live with uncertainty in our lives. We can be certain about our salvation (1 John 5:13).
When we live life this way there will be no confusion about who we are or what we are about. There will be no confusion in our own minds or in the minds of those around us.
Our Father in Heaven, help us to make sure that people around us know who we are and whose we are. Help us dear Lord to be clear in our purpose, concrete in our principles, and confident in our position. Help us dear God, in the way we live our life to allow others to see Jesus living in us. In His precious name we pray, Amen.