Friday, December 12, 2014

DEVOTION: Who Knows My Name? ~ by Karen Rees

Our names are important to us. When people know our names we feel special. Politicians, entertainers, athletes and companies with products to sell all realize the importance of a name. Now that I'm a debut novelist, that includes me. Having a well-known name brings votes, fans and sales.

Famous names of Christmas include Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Herod. But the Christmas story has its supply of unnamed people. Angels announced Jesus' birth to a group of unnamed shepherds. The Bible doesn't tell the names of the wise men who traveled such a long way to see Jesus. Only later did tradition give them names.

These people were important in the Christmas story yet God didn't tell their names. In fact, the Bible includes many unnamed people. We know the names of Noah's sons but not his wife. (Gen. 7:13) A nameless widow of Zarephath fed Elijah the prophet during a drought. (1 Kings 17) Naaman was healed of leprosy through the concern of an unnamed slave girl. (2 Kings 5) The Roman Centurion who begged Jesus to heal his servant is not named. (Matt 8:5-13) We aren't told the name of the woman who dared to touch Jesus' cloak and was healed. (Mark 5:25-34) We don't know the name of the poor widow who put her last coins in the temple offering. (Mark 12:41-44) The sinful weeping woman who wiped Jesus' feet with her hair remains anonymous. (Luke 7:36-50) The tenth leper who came back to thank Jesus for healing is not named. (Luke 17:11-19) The Bible doesn't give the name of the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus talked. (John 4)

Although these people were examples of obedience, concern for others, great faith, total trust, thankfulness, overwhelming love and joyful witnessing, only God knows their names. I wonder if these people minded missing the honor of having their names written for others to read. If it had been me, I might have been tempted to ask God to include my name. We all like a little recognition.

The danger is in liking recognition too much. In Matt 6:1-4 Jesus warns us about doing “acts of righteousness” in order to get praise from men. If that's our goal, God will probably let us have the praise. But that praise will cost us the heavenly reward God wants to give us.

Having someone notice our service for God and show appreciation is encouraging. As Christians we should appreciate and encourage each other. But on those days when we feel our faithful service is unnoticed and unappreciated or our novels aren't selling, remember that God's heavenly reward is better than earthly praise. After all, it doesn't really matter who else knows our name as long as God does.

KAREN REES, with her second-generation missionary husband Benjamin, has served in Hong Kong since 1975. Besides her involvement in the mission work, Karen loves history, quilting and writing. They have two children, Matthew and Megan, and two grand-children: Hadessah and Arthur Aaron who arrived 16 days early on December 4th.

Her historical fiction novel, The Ruby Ring, won a Finalist Award in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards in the Religious Fiction category. It can be purchased in paperback or eBook from and many other online bookstores.

Visit Karen on her author page on Facebook.
Watch her book trailer, The Ruby Ring Trailer.


  1. Thank you so much for this reminder, Karen. A happy and blessed Christmas to you!

  2. Karen, lovely post :) Thanks for your encouraging words.

  3. Thanks Karen. Though most of God's faithful servants across the centuries will be unknown to the World how good it is to rest in the fact our Lord knows. More than that He has written their/our names in His book of life. That's an everlasting testimony of His Christmas gift of Calvary's Grace.

  4. Thank you, Karen, for reminding us that God knows each of our names intimately.

    According to a friend of mine, we didn't really conceive our children until God said "Child'sName, come forth!"

  5. Thanks to all of you for your comments. I'd already tried to thank some of you but my joint reply somehow failed to appear here. I'm not sure where it went.

    I'm writing this from my daughter's house in the US and my newly arrived grandson is sleeping nearby. Have a joyful Christmas.