In 2017, my wife Lauren and I embarked on a journey abroad and lived in Madrid, Spain for a year. One of my favorite restaurants there was called 100 Montaditos (100 small sandwiches) where every Sunday and Wednesday you could get these little sandwiches for 1 euro each. It was a delight! However, there was one small issue: It was one of the few places in Spain that took your name for your order. I learned very quickly that “Seth” is a very hard name to pronounce in Castilian Spanish! With the many pronunciation errors and spelling errors ranging from “Sed” to “Zech” to “Sez (the closest pronunciation given the famous Spanish lisp), I learned quickly that you can call me whatever you want as long as my little sandwiches are on the end of it. Eventually, I found a solution that worked for everyone. I would just give them my middle name: Daniel. 

When we read the story of Daniel, also known as Belteshazzar, we see a man resolved to say “Call me what you want, but I’m going to remind myself of who I really am.” Daniel allowed himself to be renamed, but he decided he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food. Eating is an interesting thing, we need to do it almost every day, multiple times a day. As we famously know, Daniel did not defile himself with the king’s food, but every meal would instead be reminded of who he really was and who was the provider and true sustainer of life, the Lord God! 

What’s the lesson for us? It’s the challenge that is constantly present for each of us; to remind ourselves of who we really are. You can call me whatever you want, the King calls me beloved. The King calls me chosen. The King calls me an overcomer. Remind yourself today of who you really are in God’s eyes, who the King sees you as. As we’re so tempted to buy into what others would have us believe about ourselves, you can call me whatever name you want to because my identity is firmly rooted in who I truly am. A child of God. 

Today, take a moment to listen to the song “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong. Let the powerful words of that song, based in Scripture, take root in your heart. You are chosen, not forsaken. God is for you, not against you. I am who YOU say I am. A child of God!

Seth Redden
High School Pastor

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