So now you’re probably expecting a post about keeping Christmas Simple or efficient Christmas baking or something to that effect. However, that is not what I had in mind (I just wanted to share my joy with you).
Rather, I am going to (once again) reflect on something I heard in church last Sunday. I know, two posts in a row based on church! That doesn’t happen very often. Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas, when most people tend to think about more about life and God (and actually go to church). Or maybe it’s because I’m paying attention…?
Regardless, the theme of the sermon last week was about names (based on Matthew 1:18-25 where God tells Joseph to name is son “Emmanuel” (God is with us)). The pastor started out asking if the congregation knew the top baby names for 2010 (Ethan & Isabella – Twilight fans, I suppose…). She then went on to talk about the meaning of names. And that’s when I started to think about how I got my name and the hopes my parents had for me.
As the story goes, I am named for two different Tabitas. The first Tabita was a friend of my parents who was an all-around good woman. The second Tabita (aka Dorcas) is a woman that we meet in the 9th chapter of Acts in the New Testament. Here is the story (New International Version):
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.
Since I was young enough to understand this story, I knew that this was my role model. But, it didn’t exactly match with what I thought was my life plan. I grew up in a family that always had just enough and I wanted more. I wanted to go out and buy whatever I wanted. So I got a college degree that would make me lots of money (Computer Science) and started working (a lot). Before I knew it, I was making more money than I ever dreamed of. I had more than enough.
Ironically, that is when I first started changing into the person that my name had destined me to become. It was a slow, but steady process. I started to become aware about how my lifestyle was impacting the planet. I started reading books like “Radical Simplicity” and “Your Money or Your Life,” which challenged me to revisit how I live and spend money. And I started caring about others. Not just my friends and family, but people across the globe. I started thinking about the entire population as my “global family.”
Note, I’m not some kind of saint and I will probably never be as “good” as my eponym (I know, fancy word, right?). However, it’s good for me to remember whose namesake I am. It helps me stay focused on being a better human being and caring for others.
Do you know the meaning of your name or why your parents chose to gave you your particular name? If not, find out. I bet there’s a good story.
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