What's In A Name
We were walking into the grocery store near our apartment when I heard someone call my name. We had only lived in the neighborhood about a month, so I was surprised to think someone was calling for me. I can’t tell you how my heart warmed when I turned and saw a lady I had met at a social the week before.
She knew my name. She made me feel like I belonged.
I love to have tea parties in my home. Friends who come are always welcome to bring others. At one tea party, my next-door neighbor came walking up my back steps and trailing behind her was a young lifeguard I had recently seen at our pool. She was 23 years old and from Eastern Europe. Her name was Marita. Her English wasn’t great, and she seemed to feel out of place when she arrived. However, her face sure lit up several minutes later as I called her by name to come and pick out her tea. She turned with a huge smile on her face and exclaimed, “You remembered my name? No one ever remembers my name.”
How do you feel when someone remembers your name?
Dale Carnegie points out that, “…a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” There is incredible power in calling someone by their name. It makes them feel valued. And special.
Try it this week. Learn at least one neighbor’s name, and then look for an opportunity to use it. Pray for an impromptu meeting at the mailbox or a chance to wave at them and call out their name.
Oh, and by the way, ditch the excuse that you’re terrible at remembering names. It doesn’t fly when it comes to loving your neighbors. Ask God to help you. Associate their name with someone else you know by that name. Repeat their name when they first say it and when you say goodbye. Write it down as soon as you can. There are no valid excuses when it comes to remembering someone’s name. It’s worth whatever it takes to make them feel valued and important.
Jesus modeled for us the importance of calling friends by their names. Let’s follow His example.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3).