Monday, April 7, 2014

Being Known

I'm reflecting today on how people young and old want to be known, loved, respected and appreciated and I'm pretty sure we all want to go “where everybody knows our name.”

Maybe that's why the the show “Cheers” was such a huge hit back in the day. Sure, the show was set in a bar, and sure, much of the conversation that took place in the show and in most bars for that matter, is not really what I’m about, but man there’s a lot of truth in the lyrics of the theme song…

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got; taking a break from all your worries Sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came; you want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name.

I remember several years ago when I was in Mexico that the power of "being known" became so clear to me. Every morning I got up early before class and set out for my daily walk to spend some time thinking and praying about the events of the day, as well as seek out a hot fresh muffin, and a Grande Espresso Americano.

You guessed it, I was on my way to Starbucks (which for years I’ve called fourbucks, because you can’t even walk in the place in the States without dropping at least 4 bucks). But this was Mexico City and we were dealing in Pesos and exchange rates, so I kept my little joke to myself, and just enjoyed the aroma, the food, the coffee and I think more than anything…the atmosphere!

Each morning while in Mexico I would venture the half mile each way to start my day with some caffienation, and conversation. Now you may be thinking…”conversation?…Ok Brent, we know you visit all these countries, but we also know that you speak through an interpreter, so unless you’re Rosetta Stone or something how in the world are you having conversations with the Spanish speaking world in Starbucks of all places?”

Good question, and yes, my repertoire of Hola, Gracias and De nada is still the sum of my Spanish knowledge, but wonder of all wonders, in this particular Starbucks there were 2 guys that made me think about how important relationships and being known really are. They often are the determining factor when a person is deciding whether to go back or stay far away from  person, place or group.

What made me not only want to walk the mile round trip every day, but actually do it? 

Well the coffee certainly helped, but the fact that as soon as I opened the door, walked through and stepped up to the counter, not only was I greeted with a smile, eye contact, and a hearty HOLA!

I was also directly spoken to with a cheerful, “Good Morning Brat!” “How are you doing today?” “It’s so good to see you, would you like your usual, Grande Espresso Americano with a little room left at the top for half and half and three splenda?”

“Why yes, I would like that…Thank you very much!” Now the fact that the guys, pronounced and spelled my name wrong was not a big deal to me, in fact I thought it was kind of funny, but when they spoke my language, knew what I liked, and delivered it with a smile, I was blown away with how important relationships and being known really are.

It's great when people know your name, but  how much more incredible it is that God not only knows our name…He knows everything about us!

I've been thinking and praying alot lately about how important this principle is in the church, especially as it relates to the way people who attend for the first time or for the hundredth time will answer the question "should I stay or should I go?"

I'm also reflecting on how well I know the people in my sphere of influence because a name is great start but it's just a start. "Being Known" goes much deeper than that and involves time, effort and prayer which are things we all need more of these days.

My prayer is that people will feel loved, accepted and welcomed with the love of Christ when they come to Church but also that they will see that same kind of love and care in us as we remain plugged in and known by our Savior and willing to engage with others even when it's tough.

I'm so glad that Jesus broke through the barriers that could have stopped Him from "Being Known" to us!

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