A few months ago I was at my church for your average Sunday
night church service. I was amazed by how many people came up to me and shook my hand and greeted me by name. I've only been
there a few months but it seems like I've already become a well-recognized figure there.
But I started thinking about
what a great feeling that is. Isn't it a great feeling to be known? Isn't it great to know there's someone out there who knows
your name? Someone out there to whom you are a person and you have value? Someone who thinks you're worth knowing?
my Systematic Theology class last semester our teacher assigned us to read J.I. Packer's "Knowing God." It was a great read
and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. However, as I've thought about it, the concept has occurred to me that while we talk a
lot about how important it is to know God, how much do we talk about the other side? God knows us!
The apostle Paul
wrote about this to the Galatians. In the 9th verse of the 4th chapter, he says, "But now that you know God---or rather are
known by God...." To Paul, this was a very important point. Imagine how it must have been taken by the Galatians!
you ever seen the TV show Cheers? It's a show about a neighborhood tavern with all types in there. The theme song says "You
wanna go where everybody knows your name." Sometimes I can see why that kind of society is liked. In such a society, everyone
knows the little idiosyncracies of each other and each person is more free to share their own problems.
who have come out of that lifestyle and been to churches have given a harsh diagnosis of our churches. Often the bars are
more friendly than the churches are. Could it be that the church is not being the place where everybody knows your name?
knowing your name goes much farther in the Bible. My pastor preached tonight on the letter to Pergamum in Revelation 2. He
said that if there were 50 theologians there'd be 50 theories on what the white stone described in verse 17 is. Well I'm gonna
offer theory #51 then.
In those times first off, when a defendent was on trial, he would be given a stone at the end.
White if he was found innocent and black if he was found guilty. The first thing we can gather from this is that the ones
who receive the stones are declared innocent by God.
But what is the name known? I think it's important that it's known
only to the one who gets the stone and to God. God has a special unique relationship with each person who has a stone. I recall
my pastor talking about us being in Heaven showing our stones to everyone. I thought everyone might be able to see my stone
but by some working of God, no one else will know the name on it. God will value each relationship as unique.
Isn't that what we all want to be? Who wants to be an exact copy of everyone else. Now I know it might be natural for a blind
person to want to see like everyone else or a crippled to walk but does anyone want to be a carbon copy of another? We want
to be different.
We would all like God to say what he said about Job. There is no one else on Earth like him. There
were probably a number of men at that time who feared God and shunned evil. I'm guessing Elihu who talked to Job was one of
them as God never condemns Elihu at the end. But of all of them, Job was unique.
I think in reality, all of us are
unique in God's eyes. God likes variety. A simple look at creation will show that. The world shows a designer who uniquely
crafted each and every human being. It's important to know him, but it's also important to realize we are known by him