I have always loved my first name. “Sandra” means “helper” and I’ve always thought that I was good at that — helping people. It’s one of the reasons I became a public school teacher. It is also what Jesus calls us to be — helpers. One of the first lessons I learned as a child was that God loves helpers. He calls us to serve others and we mostly do that by helping them.
My middle name, not so much. My middle name is “Eileen.” I have disliked it most of my life. If people found out what it was, I got teased incessantly with the old (and not-s0-nice) joke, “Sandra I-Lean-Over-And-You-Kiss-My-Butt.” I happily dropped the use of my middle name when I got married and used my maiden name instead. Now only those really close to me know my middle name (and, of course, the whole blogging universe) and only one person still teases me with that awful joke from my childhood (Yes, Kelly Rosser, I’m talking about you!)
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Just this year, I have embraced my middle name again. You see, “Eileen” means “light.” The Bible says many things about light. Here are the two verses I love the most:
Later Jesus talked to the people again, saying, “I am the Light of the Light of the world. The person that follows me will never live in darkness but will have the Light that gives life. ( John 8:12 NCV)
You are the light that gives light to the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t put a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven. ( Matthew 5:14-16 NCV)
That’s the other part of what Jesus calls us to be: His light to a world of darkness. Last week at Bible school, I got to interact with children of all ages and their parents. I was able to fellowship with my fellow church members who taught along beside me and we had scads of fun.
But the question I faced this morning was this: what are you doing, Sandra Eileen Hall Rosser, to bring My light to this world of darkness?
There are many children who attended Bible school last week that do not attend our church regularly. When we had our commencement ceremony Sunday morning, a great many of them were not present. These are children and adults that I know are not in a regular church anywhere. I know because I made it a point to ask.
What am I going to do about it? I’m going to make contact with them. I’m going to invite them to the programs I know they will enjoy. I will start with the children and pray that the parents follow along. (Many times we will do for our children what we wouldn’t normally do for ourselves.) And I’ve decided to keep asking, checking, and inviting until they avoid my calls altogether, tell me never to call again, or decide to show up and give God’s house a chance.
After all, it’s my name. It’s my legacy. And even though your name may not be “Eileen,” it’s your legacy as well.
What about you? What will you do to “carry the light?”
Carry the Light (Various Christian Artists)