We got into a discussion of names this week. It started with Harry and Megan naming their boy Archie. Folks began questioning the choice. Now I am not a royalist my family was more republican, in nature, but I think people ought to be free to give names that are meaningful to them.
My dad called me ‘Jack’ in fact he called each of my brothers ‘Jack’! He used the moniker when he felt he had a task that one of his male heirs should do. ‘Jack’ take out the garbage. ‘Jack’ mow the lawn. ‘Jack’ meant that one of us needed to jump up and get to work. I think he liked the title because he wasn’t concerned about who got the glory of accomplishing a particular task, so much as that the task be successfully accomplished. Out of a mix of respect and fear, someone (me in my recollections but I’m sure my brothers remember it differently) would ‘hop to it’.
My Heavenly Father has names for us: ‘Beloved’, ‘My child’, saved, redeemed etc., and in scripture he says his own “Hey Jack!” “Love one another as I have loved you” “In everything give thanks” “Walk justly” the list goes on. Out of a mixture of respect and awe we are to respond. Ours is not seek or receive glory but to, strengthened by God himself, accomplish the task set before us. Seeking credit is attempted theft of God’s rightful glory! Our great biblical examples are: the four folks who lower their friend through the roof, or the people who rush to unbind Lazarus from his grave clothes. We are never given their names. They are God’s ‘Jacks’. A ‘Jack’ is someone who tackles a task and labours happily in obscurity. Humility is the chief attribute of a faithful ‘Jack’.
When I was young, I looked forward to the day I would have a ‘Jack’ of my own. I thought I’d finally got one 37 years ago but within the year I’d be holding his lifeless body. A few years later we had another potential ‘Jack’ but psoriatic arthritis made him ineligible to jump to ‘Jack’-like tasks. I do not feel sorry for myself for over the years many ‘Jacks’ have appeared in my life to help with tasks I could not do, and God has given me the health to do so many of them myself.
My dad is long since gone and I am no longer one of his Jacks, but I remain one for my Heavenly Father. He gives me tasks I am built for. He assigns me to things that bring both challenge and joy. Life as a Jack is the abundant life! I highly recommend it. There is so much to be done and so much can be accomplished if we don’t care that we don’t get the credit.
An old commercial advised us to “Be like Mike” (Michael Jordan) but I advise “Be a Jack”. There is no life like it!