Ever since people heard I was going to be a grandfather I have been asked a very consistent question - "What are you going to be called?" And my answer has been pretty consistent as well - "Whatever my granddaughter wants to call me." And I truly meant that. Our first baby, Dane, decided to call his grandfather "Papa." Nobody schemed or suggested that name ... it came solely from Dane and that name stuck.
Well, this past weekend Dane's daughter, Ella, revealed her name for me ... Papa. Everyone had been calling me "Grandpa" for a while but Ella decided that my name is to be Papa. I'm very much okay with that, not just because it's what Dane called his grandfather but because it's Ella's decision and she seems pretty committed to it. It's a beautiful thing to hear her little voice call me "Papa" ... my heart simply melts every time she says it!
It feels good to finally have a name but this particular name carries a lot of weight in our family. Anita's dad (Dr. Wilbur New / Papa) was most certainly in the 99th percentile of all grandparents who ever lived! In some ways I feel very honored to bear that name but it's also very intimidating to think I have to live up to the standard he set for our kids. He was relentless in his love for our children, in his involvement in their lives, in his willingness to provide for them whatever he could, in his support for them, in his patience during awkward times, in his acceptance of their friends, in his listening ear, in his sacrifice for their well-being. But most impressive of all was his non-stop desire for them to know Christ! I know he prayed for them and spoke to them often of his faith in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. This is the trait I most appreciate about him and want to see replicated in my role as "Papa."
Have you ever thought about what God calls you? As believers we have several titles, all of which carry a lot of responsibility - disciple, Christian, ambassador, follower, fisher, servant, priest, citizen, image-bearer, workmanship, living sacrifice, witness, salt, light, called, etc. This is a very intimidating list. But let's also not forgot that God calls us His beloved, forgiven, heir, redeemed, treasured possession, chosen, saint, new creature, bride, blameless, child, etc. Keep in mind that it's only because of Jesus that God refers to us with such affectionate terms. We've certainly done nothing to earn this love ... rather, Jesus Christ did it for us and we now get to be in this Father / child relationship with the eternal, infinite, holy, Creator, King of all creation. To understand that God calls me "son" and I can call Him "Father" and I have this relationship with Him for eternity ... again, my heart simply melts!
Do you ever wrestle with a cold and hard heart? Of course you do, we all do. Thus, I invite you to reacquaint yourself with God's loving and gracious voice toward you. Feed upon the Gospel each and every day through His Word, don't neglect the importance of the Lord's Supper when offered, and converse with Him in prayer. See if your heart doesn't melt as you hear Him call you "son" or "daughter."