15 December 2017

What are you carrying?

A recent study has named Apple Inc. as the number one brand name in the world for 2011. Apple is now listed as the world’s most valuable brand with an estimated value of more than $153 billion. Google (last year’s number one) came in 2nd, IBM 3rd, McDonalds 4th, and Coca Cola 5th.

As a self-confused Apple fanatic I feel I helped contribute to this. As I type this article on my MacBook, using my ‘You Version’ app on my iPad to read and reference the Bible, whilst also taking a call on my iPhone, I think I might be right (don’t worry the therapy is slowly working!) The truth of the matter is that it’s in our very DNA to be name carriers.

Pause for a second and look around you and think of some of the names you carry.

Here are just a few:

  • Nike Playstation
  • Vodaphone Xbox
  • BMW Sky Sports
  • Gillette Starbucks
  • HSBC Manchester United
  • Red Bull Liverpool

These are just a few examples of the 1000’s of names we carry throughout our day-to-day lives.

Let me throw out a few other examples for you; church is a name, your church specifically whether it’s Baptist, Pentecostal, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Free Presbyterian, Subscribing, Non Subscribing, Elim – they are all names that we carry.

In Acts Chapter 9 we read the famous story of Saul’s conversion on the Damascus Road; where God also appeared to Ananias instructing him to go and visit Saul so he can lay hands on him that he might see again. However Ananias, knowing who Saul was and what he did argues with God.

This is what God says to him in verse 15: “Go, for he is my chosen vessel to bear (carry) My name…”

It’s amazing to think that Jesus, The Son of God is looking for ordinary people like you and me to carry His name. The problem is that in today’s society the name of Jesus is hidden away in conversations. If we are honest, even those of us who call ourselves His followers have, on occasion, shied away from speaking about His Name. We will get together and talk night and day about our churches, and how great (or bad) they are. We’ll spend hours talking about the amazing things that it does or doesn’t do. We debate and argue about which belief system is right or wrong and talk about the flaws of this outreach and that sermon. But the one thing we have in common, the one thing that unites us all, we scarcely mention, never mind indulge in a deep conversation about.

Oh, but wait. I have another name for you… Christian. This is a name that we carry. Only mentioned 3 times in the original text yet we willingly make it known to everyone we meet – ‘I’m a Christian’. The thing is, when I tell my openly gay hairdresser that I’m a Christian, he immediately thinks that I am going to judge him, that I think I’m better than him, that he is a nobody in my eyes. Before I can even begin to explain to him exactly what it is I believe with all my heart his defences are up and it becomes a near impossible task. A harsh truth, but an unfortunate reality.

I must admit the more I consider these thoughts the more I’m challenged to change my own mindsets.

What are you carrying?

This is what God has to say on the matter, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11)

When everything is said and done what will people say about you? Will they say, “I knew he went to the church down the street, but he never talked much about Jesus.”? “Yeah he told me he was a Christian but he never spoke much of Jesus”?

Let’s put the name of Jesus at the centre of everything we say and do, and as we lift up His Name we trust and believe He will draw all men unto Him.

Gareth Murphy ‘Sputd’