It was time for us to begin the VBS program with the children of El Zapatillo. Each of us was recognized by name and invited to come to the front .. stadium style. Then we had a time of music and they brought Rosa up to sing and lead the worship. Afterwards we did a skit and had a short message before we broke up into our groups.
There were five boys in my group (and I had a little girl join the next day). Their ages ranged from 3 to 8. We all sat down on the floor and I asked each one his name and age. The older boys answered for some of the younger ones.
It was hard for me to understand the boys. I’m hard of hearing as it is, but there was a lot of noise in the background and they boys were quiet spoken. It didn’t help that they were speaking in Spanish … or so I thought. It may have been the local Mayan language.
Just like kids at home, some were attentive and others were easily distracted. A couple of my younger ones worried me a little because they seemed too docile. I’m used to little ones running around with unbounded energy. I had to wonder if they were getting enough to eat, or if it was just a hard life here. Some of these kids traveled a long way on foot to be with us.
As each shared his name, I wondered how they’d come to that name. What kind of family were they from and were they happy? Were there special needs in their life? What did they like to do? The biggest question that I ask with every child I meet is what kind of future is in store for this person?
One thing I’ve learned is that names represent something as much as someone. Sometimes people make a name for themselves. By that, I mean that their name becomes synonymous with their actions, accomplishments, or fame.
I wondered what each child would accomplish and where they would be. Would they make a name for themselves or live up to their name. Would their name come to represent something good or bad?
Some names are given to represent authority. Others to show position. Some people are given nick names symbolizing an event or way about that person.
Even in the Bible, God took pains to name people and he even renamed a few. Abram, the father of nations was renamed to Abraham. Saul, persecutor of Christians, was renamed Paul and became the missionary to Christians. Jesus says that many will receive a white stone engraved with a new name understood only to the one who receives it (Revelation 2:27). Even Jesus, though he has many names will be given a new name (Revelation 3:13).
As I think about the events, I’m keenly aware that I also have a name that God has given me and how I live will either make that name or break it. I will either be known for good or bad.
What about your name?