This week I found one of the heartfelt personalized Valentines that my son gave out to his classmates many weeks ago. As I was enjoying the nerds (nerds don’t go bad , right?) , and laughing about my quirky son, it made me think about the power of a name. Getting gifts is always nice, but it feels different when you know the gift is just for you. Sammy made a kind gesture, but lets face it, no one received Nerds from my boy this year and felt touched. Or singled out. Or special. Not when it was labeled ‘To: You’. What is the message here?
“You happen to be one of the kids who attends this class. I can’t remember all of your names, but you are super special to me. Here, have a pack of Nerds.“
Not a terrible message, but a few steps below heartwarming. In my years on campus, I can’t tell you how many people I meet who share that this is how they believe God views them. They have heard the gospel, and God’s gift of grace, but internalize it as having a label that reads …. “To: You” What do I mean by that? Just that they don’t really believe that God has a personal, intimate care and concern for them. That He knows them by name. I have heard phrases like this shared countless times…
- “He loves me because He has to love everyone”
- “I feel like My sins are forgiven, but only because He had to”
- “I snuck in through the back door”
My friend Whitney just wrote about that feeling a little while ago. Check it out.
No one would readily admit it, but many harbor views of God that are just slightly less cynical versions of this article in the Onion titled, “Christ Reluctantly Enters Area Man’s Heart“
But that is not our God.
In John 10:2-5 Jesus says….”But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
All this to say, that I think if God had a box of nerds for me on Valentine’s Day, it would say To: SHAH
And he wouldn’t just drop it in some brown paper bag. He would look me in the eye and give it to me personally.
And it probably wouldn’t even be Nerds at all…it would be a banana flavored laffy taffy.