Posted on Wednesday 15 April 2009

Close to 100 name tags were spread on the table near the door of the event – the invitation to which I’d affirmatively responded over a month before. So although I’d almost rather be pushed out of an airplane at several thousand feet than walk into a room full of social opportunity alone, I approached the welcome table without excessive fear. I’d received an invitation, I’d said I would be coming, and I was confident that I could at least navigate the name tag bit without much angst.
My bolstered confidence quickly vaporized when I didn’t see my name.
The facts didn’t matter so much anymore. Because I didn’t have a pre-printed nametag like all the others I saw, I suddenly felt awkward. Undeserving. Like I was sneaking into a movie I wasn’t big enough to see. Like my invitation had somehow been a mistake.
The hostess was very nice. She didn’t seem at all bothered by my lack of an “official” tag. In fact, she had a roll of adhesive ones ready, and a Sharpie nearby. She offered both with a smile, saying I could simply make my own. I didn’t want to, but I did – silently giving thanks that at least it didn’t have “HELLO MY NAME IS” pre-printed at the top.
Still, the simple act of writing my name (smallish) with a Sharpie solidly reinforced the nagging suspicion I’d probably been carrying all along: that I didn’t really deserve to be invited to the event to begin with.
Since I didn’t have a “real” name tag, I can’t be certain how much it would have helped me. Looking back I suspect that even with it, I would have been a little uncomfortable; felt a little out of place. After all, I was shoulder to shoulder with some of the names that line my bookshelves. I was smiling politely at people whose words I had highlighted in yellow. And I was absolutely certain no one recognized my name.
But I also realized this: I, of all people, should be over the “undeserving” thing. I am undeserving. But for the One to whom it should have mattered most, it mattered least. And because I have received from Him grace upon grace, every new grace should be, not a reminder of my own unworthiness, but a “shout out” to His great goodness and mercy.
Written in chalk at the top of the school-sized blackboard in my bedroom are these words, not my own: “Your grace still amazes me – Your love is still a mystery – Each day I fall on my knees -  Your grace still amazes me.” It does. It does. Oh, how it does.
Thanks, God, for the invitation. Thanks for setting the table before me. Thanks for gifting, blessing and connecting me. And thanks for skipping my name tag just this once, so I could be amazed all over again at the glory of Your name.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:3-4, NASB)

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