1 Corinthians 10:31b – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV)
Once I had an unusual dream: I was sitting in a pew, and a church leader was calling forward all who had done good deeds in church. The list of names was lengthy, and the line of people across the front of the sanctuary grew longer and longer. When I heard the name, "Diane Eaton", I did not recognize it as mine. So I remained seated. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but I could not place it. Then a rapturous sense of peace and joy washed over me. It was so lovely that I didn't care about the name or the activity at the front of the church.
When I first awoke, the blissful peace lingered on. But I still did not know who Diane Eaton was, no matter how hard I thought. Only when I was fully awake did I "get it". It was me! I knew then that this experience had an important message for me — and for any of us.
You see, I am a musician, and I often perform. My name is typically announced or printed in programs. After my dream, a peculiar series of events occurred. At almost every performance, my name was announced incorrectly, misspelled, replaced with an incorrect name, or omitted altogether. It happened with such regularity that I felt compelled to share the dream with my colleagues. They understood immediately. They were all too aware of the tedious task of trying to get names right — and not offend anyone. After all, a name is a personal and a cherished part of one's identity.
My experiences not only freed me, but it helped to free them. They could lighten up. If they didn't have to worry so much about offending people, then they were free to focus on the main task — the musical presentation.
Really, what is wrong with someone named Diane Eaton being announced as Nancy or Beth? What does it matter if her name is spelled "Keaton"? Why should she care if her name is left off the program? Doesn't the audience care more about the actual presentation? And isn't that the way it should be? As someone said, "God can do anything through those who don't care who gets the glory."
My name, "Diane", means "in God's glory". Really that is the purpose for all of God's people. If our lives are truly presented for God's glory, then others will be drawn to God, not us. As today's Scripture says: "Do it all for the glory of God." May each of us be able to pray like this:
Prayer: Lord, I cannot know how cherished my own name (reputation, glory, honour) may mean to me until I am confronted through your testings. I plead for Your power to help me to resist the urge to be self-protective, and instead see these tests as your way of maturing my faith — for Your glory. Amen.