But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- Luke 10:41-42
Leigh Ellen Rose Taylor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written that name - even long before that sweet little girl was finally born five months ago. Her name holds so much meaning to me.
Leigh - means “healer,” or “from the meadow.” It’s also my middle name.
Ellen - means “shining light,” which shares the same meaning as my husband’s first name (Lucas). It can also mean “courageous.”
Rose - the delicate, yet strong flower that symbolizes love and reflects the type of woman after God’s heart I pray my daughter will become. I love my sweet Leigh Ellen, and I love that my husband and I got to give her the gift of a carefully chosen name. Admittedly, I’ve always been “that girl” who was crazy about doodling baby names in my notebooks or building families on The Sims, but now that I’m a mother, I appreciate the value of a name more than ever before. This makes me think about the significance of names in the Bible as well. Have you ever thought about how personal our God is? How the God of all creation chose to introduce Himself to us by name in His Word, telling us first that He is “I AM” in the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14), then continuing to teach us more about who He is throughout the Bible by showing us different names like the God Who Sees, the God Who Hears, Comforter, Helper, Counselor, King, Almighty God, Savior, Healer, Father, and Friend. And then, we get the opportunity to walk closely in a restored relationship with this Creator God through faith in the Name above all Names, Jesus (Philippians 2:9). It’s at His name we bow (Philippians 2:10-11) and by calling on His name we get to be named daughters of the Most High, of the Great I AM (Romans 10:14). As if it isn’t marvelous enough to know God, we also are known by Him (2 Timothy 2:19)! He knows His people by name (Luke 10:20). We see this in the beginning, when God names the first man, Adam (Genesis 5:1-2). We see it God’s relationship with Moses, when He promises, “I look favorably on you, and I know you by name” (Exodus 33:12). We see it when God says to His chosen people: But now the Lord Who made you, O Jacob, and He Who made you, O Israel, says, “Do not be afraid. For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are Mine! - Isaiah 43:1 And then do you see it in the passage above from Luke?
The Lord said to her, “My dear Martha…” In a time period where women weren’t always seen or heard or valued, Jesus - the Lord, the long-awaited Messiah (or deliverer of God’s people) - saw Martha, He treasured her, and He spoke to her by name. He met her where she was, and He tenderly corrected her, saying, “You’re missing it, my dear Martha. You’re missing Me.” He teaches her with patience and welcomes her to refocus properly on the main thing: her Lord. Romans 2:4 describes God’s gentleness this way: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?... his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin...” His kindness leads us to repentance, or turning from our own way and following His way instead. When we fall short, Jesus meets us there. He calls us by name and welcomes us to turn from our distractions and fix our eyes again on Him. And even more, when we do fall short, He gives us other believers to learn from. “Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Jesus celebrates Mary by name and encourages Martha to follow her example - not in order to put Martha down but to build both her and her sister up and draw them nearer to Himself.
1. How can you live differently, knowing that the God of the universe knows you by name and allows you to know Him by name?
2. How can you follow Jesus’ example and meet people where they are, connecting with them on a personal level?
God, thank You so much for being a personal God who loves and knows His creation. Thank You for making a way for us to be in a restored relationship with You through faith in Jesus. Thank You for Jesus’ example of guiding and celebrating women by name. Help me to love others like You, to acknowledge their value and meet them where they are so I can point them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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(Name meanings above from www.sheknows.com)