“For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
~ Ephesians 2.10, NRSV
“In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.”
~ Job 12.10
America says that our meaning and subsequent worth is earned. We make light of our common human nature and believe that importance is nurtured, birthed. It matters whose house you were born in– not that we all live under roofs. It matters the kind of spoon, silver or wooden, not the fact that we all need one to eat.
No, we have our own separating, segregating, social anointing process. We choose importance and consequent greatness based on the lineage, the legacy of last names. And depending on our name, we either come in first or last. Our names can elevate or demote us; it all depends on who we are tied to and what they have earned with their name.
We cannot see the importance of a name unless it is in lights. Starring. It is a matter of how many people know us and know of our name. Unfortunately, fans are more important than family members; its the numbers that count. Meaning and the subsequent value of a life is a popularity contest for some of us.
And it matters who knows you, the “who’s who”, we call them. Based on who knows us, we are considered known and even well- known. Sadly, the truth that God knows us all is problematic as it does not make us feel special, single out, distinct. Starring.
Our meaning is also gained through material acquisition. The more things we have, the more meaning we possess. The more money we have, the more value is given to our name. We even “name drop” to demonstrate our connections to those who have more meaning than others.
And if our name happens to mean that we are someone of importance and it is forgotten or not acknowledged by special treatment or deference, then we ask, “Do you know who I am?” I wonder if we even know the answer to such a question if our self- knowledge lies in our last name, family legacy and/ or wealth.
With God, our meaning is given, assumed. We are here so we belong, are important and necessary– as God does not create what or who He does not have need of. Consequently, it does not what we gain or lose, what our names are or who we answer to. But, if we have done what we were created to do, whether or not we lived into (versus up to), lived by the name that God calls us.
Our meaning is God- given and not something that any human being can take away– no matter what our names earn us. Neither we nor our parents had a hand in it. It is given to us by God not assigned to us based on our social earning potential or reality. No, our identity and being are in His hands, given to be pierced so that we could be made whole, nailed down so that our lives could be freed from the bondage of sin and no one can change that (cp. John 10.28). He prepared it beforehand. When He gave us His Word, He promised us that. Thanks be to God.