Naming Stuff

Friday, June 25, 2010
I remember a day in a middle school music class when we had to create a "new" instrument, and then bring it to class and play if for everyone.

I don't remember my exact score only that I did poorly on the assignment.

Probably the worst part of my project was the name. Despite having built what was essentially a four-year-old's rendition of a guitar, I came up with the worst name in the class. I'm pretty sure that's why I did poorly, because I'm almost certain now that you will never score well when the word "thingy" is in the title.

I would not have done well as Adam.

Genesis 2:19, "Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name."

Genesis 2:22-23, "Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.'"

Genesis 3:20, "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living."

Reading these verses your first thoguth might be that the smartest thing Adam ever did was rename his wife.  "Eve" sure sounds like an upgrade from "Woman."

But this morning I was pondering this, and reflecting on my struggles with naming things such as "the stringed thingy," and wondering what life would be like if every guy had to give his wife her name. I don't think I would have come up with Sheena. I don't think she would like what I would come up with.

Naming things is a daunting task.

Naming things requires great levels of creativity.

We see in Genesis God placing man in the midst of all that God had created. God then enlisted Him to care for the creation and put language to what God had made.

We often use the word "stewardship" to refer to the act of being trusted to care for what is God's. And it seems that stewardship requires a great deal of creativity. Somewhere, within the act of stewardship, is the need to create: whether it's a method, or a system or a name, or a space or whatever. We can't be good stewards without employing thought and creativity.

Thankfully, I was never charged with naming my wife. And she's more thankful than I. But I was involved with naming our daughter, and hopefully one day  I'll be called on to help name another child. Naming what God creates is an honour that I hope we never take lightly. It's one of the first acts of stewardship and caring for what is the Lord's.