Early one morning in February, a few years ago, I was at Los Angeles International Airport to catch a flight home from a seminar in California. I was inching my way through a long TSA security line, anxious to get in the air. All of us were removing shoes, watches, belts, and pocket items in hopes of not setting off the metal detector. After I cleared it without alarm and was struggling to put my shoes back on, I noticed the man who had gone through the line before me. He looked so familiar. I knew him from somewhere. Who was he? Then I realized he was a famous movie star I had watched on television for years. As we walked away from security toward the gates, I caught up with him and asked, “Aren’t you Tom Danson from ‘Cheers,’ ‘Becker’ and CSI?’” He smiled and said, “Yes, I am.” I was wowed. I had seen a real somebody.
I found a place to sit a few minutes later and phoned my wife, Pat, to share the exciting news. I was so thrilled. After I told her I had talked to Tom Danson, she said, “His name is TED Danson, not Tom!” Of course it was! Man! I thought, how could I have been so dumb? My joy turned to embarrassment. But after thinking about it a few minutes, in my defense, I told her, “Well, he didn’t even know my name at all!”
Isn’t it most embarrassing not to know the names of people you should know? Most of us have had that happen at some time. But here’s what’s important: If some person doesn’t know your name, it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things. People are people, and you and they will get over it.
However, is it not a fantastic truth that the God of the universe knows your name? Get this: The One who created the world and everything on it, knows your name! He knows you personally!
God said to His people: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you, For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3). This statement was about Israel corporately, but is also true of believers individually.
“I have called you by name; you are Mine!” The God of the universe knows your name! It doesn’t get much better than that!
The Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, revealed similar comforting realities when He spoke to His disciples about His care for them. In John 10 Jesus compared believers to sheep and himself to the shepherd. He said “the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (verses 3 and 4). Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows every one of His sheep, calls them by name and leads them. You are most precious to the Good Shepherd! Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,…and I lay down My life for the sheep” (verses 14-15). He knows your name! He guides your life!
On another occasion the disciples went overboard celebrating the power they had used in ministering to people, healing and casting out demons. They had only employed the power Jesus gave them when He sent them out. However, the Lord put things back into perspective when he reminded them of what should bring joy to their hearts. He said, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20). That fact—having your name written in heaven—is something to really celebrate!
In 2010, Tommy Walker wrote the lyrics for a powerfully comforting song entitled, “He knows My Name.” These words bring joy to our hearts and serve to remind us of God’s great promise:
I have a Maker, He formed my heart.
Before even time began, My life was in his hands.
He knows my name, He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call.
I have a Father, He calls me His own.
He’ll never leave me, No matter where I go.
He knows my name, He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call
Have you noticed how you feel when people call you by your name? It brings affirmation, joy, appreciation and a proper sense of pride. If it thrills you that people know your name, how much more thrilling will it be when the Lord of lords calls you by your name?
Have you received Christ as your Savior? Do you know Him? As great as it will be for Jesus to call your name, it will be a million times worse to hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). And He will say those words to all who have not received Him as Savior. You can know Him and be called and led by Him, if you will call on Him, repent of your sin and trust Jesus alone to save you. Then He will call you by name to follow Him…and it won’t mistakenly be someone else’s name! What a day that will be!