A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dave's Deep Thoughts

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

It's all about nomenclature.
Our names identify us with who we are.

If there are two David's in the crowd,
and one of us is called,
we both look up.

I cherish my name.
The meaning of my name is "beloved"

David is the name my family uses
Dave is often used by friends.
Davey is used only by those who have a death wish......

Somehow the receptionist at the gym didn't get the memo.

The first day I walked into the gym,
I, a complete stranger, was greeted with.....
"How are ya, hon' "

It's not that she didn't know my name.
It came up on her screen the moment that I scanned my membership card.
She was just trying to be friendly at level we had not yet reached.

I was tempted to respond with,
"Just great, honey bear!"
but for once in my life
I showed restraint.

I'm not a big fan of slang names
when I don't have some level of familiarity with the person.

The next time I entered the gym,
my identity had migrated to "Sugar"
I wasn't feeling particularly sweet that day,
especially when anticipating a hard workout at 6:30am.

On another trip,
I had somehow become "sweet cakes"
That just made me hungry
and wished that I was eating breakfast rather than pumping iron.

Other days I became "tootsie,"
occasionally, "sugar pie".....
Throw in a "honey bunch"
and I was in the midst of a Motown revival.....

I thought about asking her to address me by my real name,
but instead I decided to do the mature thing....
which was to try to sneak past her when she wasn't looking.

One morning I almost did it.
She was busy folding towels and talking with some other honey bun.
I scanned my card and slithered away.
Just as I reached the locker room door,
the walls of the gym echoed with a resounding.......
'Mornin' cupcake"

Somehow cupcake doesn't quite measure up to beloved,
not to mention the additional calories.

I realize that all of these names are attempts to be friendly, to build closeness
but they don't appropriately define our relationship.

I like how the Lord addresses me.

His first name for me recorded in Scripture was....


What's that?

Doesn't sound very personal,
or does it?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have everlasting life. John 3:16

I like being a whoever.

Whoever unrolls the welcome mat of heaven for everyone.
Whoever invites the world to God.
Whoever exports God's grace worldwide.
For anyone who attempts to restrict it, Jesus has a word: whoever *

Later on, we take on more personal, intimate names.
In Romans 8 we are called children of God
To those who follow Him, in John 15, He calls us friends.
In Matthew, the obedient are called brother, sister, mother.

The spiritual relationship between Christ and those of us who believe
is closer than the closest of blood ties.
It doesn't get any more intimate than that.

I may or may not desire to be someone's cupcake or honey bunch,
but oh how I value being beloved of Christ.

After all, it's all about nomenclature

*from Max Lucado's 3:16 The Numbers of Hope

Whoever comes to me I will never drive away
John 6:37

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