A Theology of Name Calling…

November 30, 2007 at 4:20 am 6 comments

 

Picture this: You’re in Wal-Mart checking out after grabbing things that you had no intentions of buying just moments ago. You approach the cashier and take a quick glance at their nametag and then you say “how are you today Richard?” Richard will undoubtedly look at you like, “How do you know my name?” Sometimes they forget the big name tag on their shirts. I am one of those weird people that calls people by their name. What I mean is that when I am in Wal-Mart or at a restaurant or anywhere really, I make it a point to call my cashier or server by their name. I have seen that puzzled look many times. I have even had a person ask me if we had met before.

 

But then something else happens. You can almost see it on their faces! There comes this realization that you, a customer, care enough to not treat them as a means to an end, but rather as a human with a name. There comes this realization that even at work, they aren’t just a machine there to produce. There comes this realization that you don’t just want them to bag your groceries, scan your coupons, get your food quickly, or refill your drink but that you want to treat them like another human being, with a name. It’s pretty simple. Nothing really magical about it, yet it is indeed delightful.

 

I’ve had some wonderful conversations with people that began simply by using their name. I recently flew to Virginia for a friend’s wedding and at the airport had one of those encounters. I went to check in my luggage and simply said “How are you today Maria?” Maria looked at me with that “how do you know my name” look and I quickly reassured her by pointing to her winged name tag. Maria then got that little smile that I’ve seen a hundred times. As we finished getting my luggage checked in, all along talking about the unpredictable weather, the crazy busyness of the airport, and my weekend plans, Maria then looked at me and said “Mr. Mitchell, thank you for making my morning great. You have a wonderful flight.”

 

All I did was call her by her name, and treat her like a human being. This may seem like a little thing, but try it and see how people respond. There’s something wonderful about saying someone’s name and not just treating them like your personal servant. This of course, requires effort. Sometime you may even have to ask what their name is. I assure you, however, that it’s worth it. My challenge is really that simple. Nothing super spiritual about it and no corresponding Bible verses. (Though Scripture does have a great deal to say about treating people the way you want to be treated) Consider this just a friendly reminder or challenge to remember that the person standing in front of you at Wal-Mart, Fred’s, Marvin’s, Dollar General, your favorite restaurant, the gas station, or wherever you are, is someone’s husband, wife, daughter, son, mother, or father. They have a name: don’t be afraid to use it, it just may make their day!

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Matt  |  November 30, 2007 at 5:53 am

    Good thoughts. I’m actually going to try this. You should have titled this “A theology of name-calling.” That would have made you sound smart.

  • 2. pastornoah  |  November 30, 2007 at 6:17 am

    done..but i cant take credit for YOUR smartness….

  • 3. Sadie  |  November 30, 2007 at 6:23 am

    I love this post Noah. My dad likes to call people by their name like you do, but he usually scares people with his mountain-man looks. Just kidding…sort of.
    I like what Dr Habermas says, that how you treat other people is how you treat God. That’s an amazing thing when you really think about it.

  • 4. Matt  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Good man.

  • 5. Robby  |  December 1, 2007 at 12:35 am

    Good thoughts Noah. I always noticed how you do this when we would go to Wal-Mart back in our roommate days. It is something we should all do if we take seriously the idea that man is created in the image of God.

  • 6. girlfromthenorthcountry  |  December 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for this reminder, Noah.

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Stuff I am reading:

The Ultimate Priority
The Ultimate Priority
John MacArthur

How Soul Change Leads to Social Change
The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change
Brenda Salter Mcneil

The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity
The Trivialization of God: The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity
Donald W. McCullough

Books I want to read soon….(In the on deck circle)

Making Disciples a Few at a Time
Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time
Greg Ogden


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