Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

An ad currently running on television clearly promotes the idea that more is better. It’s not a hard sell because most of us naturally subscribe to this idea without even giving it a second thought. Who wouldn’t want two instead of settling for one. Somehow we all seem inclined to support the idea verbalized by Mohammed Ali that, “I am the greatest.”

My best friend growing up was named Les. We liked the same things, played the same games, and even enjoyed getting into trouble together. In many ways he was my soul mate. It never entered my mind that his name might be considered demeaning. Yet when he got married, his new wife recognized this could be considered deprecating and took up calling him by his middle name.

Growing up in Northern California we also came into contact with many Lesser Goldfinch. It was the common goldfinch in our area and was frequently seen in our yard, although ours was the green-backed form. Its name comes from the fact that it is the smallest of the goldfinches, but to me it was just a name and had nothing to do with measuring. Perhaps this was because it had so many positive qualities. Its species name, psaltria, refers to one who plays the lute, a name derived from the fact that it will frequently imitate the songs of many other birds. It is beauty and friendliness makes it a favorite among those who are blessed by its presence.

Do we think any less of John the Baptist who stated, “He must become more important while I become less important” when referring to Jesus? John 3:30 GNT) or is James, son of Alphaeus, who was also known as James the Less of diminished importance in our eyes because of his name? I’m glad for friends, for beauty, for examples to us of what is really important, even though they might be considered lesser by some.