In elementary school I was an average student. By average, I mean at times illiterate, at other times disinterested. It was midway through my second grade year that I finally figured out how to read. For the rest of my early school years I was playing catch up. For a boy whose favorite subject was recess, catching up was not exactly top priority in my school day.
At the end of each school year, we would take some form of standardized test to monitor our progress. As I took the standardized test at the end of my fifth grade year, somehow I filled out the scantron section for my name backwards. Instead of filling out the bubbles “Mark Robinson,” I filled them out “Kram Nosnibor.” Because of my error, no results for “Mark” ever made it back to the principal’s office. However, when the results came back, Kram Nosnibor aced the doggone thing. Since I normally produced mediocre scores, school officials did not quickly make the link between my absent score and Kram’s new found success. I have often wondered if the principal was checking to see if there was a new international exchange student, last name Nosnibor, that aced that exam, but I guess I will never know. What I do know is that Kram was a lot better at taking tests than Mark ever was. I like to think that I had the test upside down the whole time and ran a streak of lucky guesses to the 99th percentile, but there is no way of checking. Whatever the reason, Kram’s good score put my in “Gifted and Talented” my sixth grade year and I believe this new found academic identity helped me engage more in the classroom.
Names are important aren’t they? This story of my sixth grade year is mostly humorous, but in our lives, the names we carry mean a lot. My friend’s call me Mark. My wife calls me “honey.” My parents call me son. My son calls me Dad. Some call me Pastor or Reverend. Each of these titles or names has special meaning to me. Kram inspired academic excellence. Dad inspires responsibility. Pastor simply inspires. What we call things matters.
This is very true in our relationship with God. Throughout the Bible, God reveals Himself to us in various names and titles. Lord, Savior, Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, Jesus Christ, Creator, Father and many more. Some names remind us of God’s provision, others of His love. Some of His sovereign rule, others of His close interaction with us. There are many names of God, however, there is one title for God that we often do not include in our list of Divine names and monikers: “Sender.” We often think of God as holy or loving, but we often forget about God as a sender, yet throughout the Bible, God assumes that role. In Genesis 12, God sends Abram to a land He would show Him. In Isaiah 6, God sends Isaiah to be His mouthpiece to the nation of Israel. In John 1, God sends John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. In Luke 9, Jesus sends out the 12 to minister throughout Palestine. In Luke 10, He sends out 72 to do the same. In Matthew 28, He sends the disciples into all the world. In Acts 13, the Holy Spirit sends Barnabas and Paul on a missionary journey. These are just some of the biblical examples of God as “Sender.”
As with other names and titles of God, the role of God as Sender tells us something about God’s heart. Many times when we think of God sending, we think of God sending someone far away. What is interesting, however, is that only half of the examples we just referenced show God sending someone to a people other than their own. When God sends, He is not always sending internationally, but He is always sending intentionally. Intentionally, in every instance, God is moving towards people to offer them revelation of Himself, rescue from their circumstances, and redemption from their sins. When God moves towards people to offer these great gifts, He often sends other people to deliver His blessings.
Knowing that God is a sender, and knowing that many of you who read this post are believers in Christ, some quick math will let you know that our God, the Sender, is sending you. Intentionally, God is sending you to your corner of the world to share His perspective, His provision, and His passion with the people around you. The church is not a museum of old relics, but a Fed Exed message of hope sent from an awesome God. Think about that the next time you bow in prayer and address God. Remember, He is our Sender, addressed to accomplish His mission in the world.