I played with a lot of “choo-choos” and cars over the Christmas holiday.  It’s fair to say that my two-year-old nephew is obsessed, and so we spent lots of time racing and rescuing trains from crashes.  I’m proud to say that I know many of the “Thomas” and “Cars” characters now.  It’s really quite impressive.

However, when I was first learning, I would ask my nephew the names of each car so I knew which one I was pretending to be.  “That’s Chick, the mean car,” I was told.  “This is Lightning McQueen.”

But I continued to forget the name of one particular car.  When I would ask about it, the response I always received was, “He’s just a race car.”

Apparently that car has no name in the movie, so therefore he’s been dubbed “just a race car” by my nephew, as though it’s actually his name.

Just a race car.  There’s nothing particularly important about him.  In fact, he doesn’t even need a name.

I don’t know if you feel that way sometimes.  You’re just an employee.  Just a girl.  Just a guy. Just a number.

Just another face in the crowd.

But the good news of God’s kingdom is that you are not just anything to Him.  He created you.  He chose you.  He called you by name.

Your name may have been slandered.  It may have been ridiculed or forgotten or overlooked.

But it too will be redeemed.

The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.  (Isaiah 62:1-2)

That is the glorious gospel we celebrate — that the ordinary becomes extraordinary in God’s economy.

That just-a-race-cars actually do have names.