What is the difference in a name? “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1, ESV). According to this proverb, a name makes all the difference in someone’s life. What’s in mind here is not so much someone’s actual name, Bob or Sally, rather, someone’s reputation. To illustrate this reality let’s do a quick comparison of names:
- What do you immediately think of when you hear the name “Miley Cyrus”?
- How about “Lottie Moon”?
Based on the reputation of each of the above, we might label the first a train-wreck and the latter a saint. Of course, we could use this exercise pitting all sorts of people against each other. The point is that reputations matter. Reputations sometimes result in labels. Sometimes labels are fair; at other times, labels miss the mark due to the discoloration of the assessors frame of reference, prejudices, or misguided information.
Labeling people according to perceived reputation can sometimes be wrong. Take for instance the self-deprecating labels Gideon had of himself: abandoned, weakest, and youngest. We might label him, fearful, and unimpressive. God, instead, appeared to him and called him a mighty warrior (Judges 6:12). God changed Gideon’s label because He intended to change Gideon’s reputation. God had in mind to use this timid person to conquer the terrorizing enemy – to be the judge that would rescue God’s people. Before the reputation of Gideon became in actuality “Mighty Warrior,” God labeled him as such. Interesting, don’t you think?
Let’s bring this back to our own day and context. What do you think of when you read the following labels?
- OKDHS – Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Child trafficking victim
What if we asked God to help us to see each entity or person not according to current reputations but rather according to what God intends for each? What if we began to assume that God wanted to change the reputations…the labels of each to represent and put on display His glory?
- OKDHS – What if God wants His people to not stand aloof from OKDHS and cast stones at the obvious faults; rather, what if He asks us to move toward the “system” – the people serving within the system – and ask a simple question, “How may I serve you? How may I make a difference for you and for the kids in state’s care?” Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some ideas.
- Child trafficking victim – Could God actually want you or me to make a difference in the life of a child who has been or is at risk of being trafficked? There are some wonderful ministries to support or serve with at http://orphanjustice.com/the-book/chapter-resources/chapter-2-orphans-and-trafficking/ministry-links/.
- Orphan – Join the movement of God in changing children’s destinies (physically and spiritually) who are labeled “Orphans” and make them become sons and daughters through adoption. Isn’t that what God has done for us in Christ?
Yes, labels matter. Reputations matter. I hope you’ll join us and get the reputation of being one who is a friend of orphans.