Friday, July 8, 2011

Set Your Sails

     As a part of my journey in learning to hear the voice of God, sense the heart of God and understand the will of God, I am reading through the Bible.  As I read it, I am looking for neat stories that are tucked away behind more familiar stories that are full of treasures that allow us to expand our image of God.  Ultimately, how we live our lives is based on what we believe about God.
     Chapter 11 introduces us to one of the most significant characters of the Bible, Abram, later to become Abraham.  Our first intro is simply his genealogy.  Not much to go on.  Jump to chapter 12 and boom, the story of Abraham begins to unfold. 
     Right off the bat, God asks of Abraham to do something extremely difficult: "Leave your country, your family, your father's home and go to a country I will show you."
WHERE?  "A country I will show you."  Abraham was asked to leave "everything" to go to a place that God had not even revealed to him yet.  That is like telling me to jump off a cliff  before I have looked to see what is below.  A "blind leap of faith" is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is one of the most liberating spiritual acts you could ever do.
     Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were asked to step into furnace without knowing the outcome.  All indications were that they would become crispy critters.  What was their posture?  "Our God can deliver us, but if not we are prepared to burn!"  It is that abandonment of self  to His will for His glory that I so want to become a reality in my life.  Willingness to leave everything without knowing where I'm heading or give up my life for His story and glory.
     The truth is, that is not my reality.  Nor is it the reality of most I see around me.  I am more concerned with houses, horses and home fries than I am the glory of God.  The sad part is that it is not my intention.  My generation pretty much sold out to the pursuit of the American Dream.  Let me be quick to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with picket fences and two car garages, but if it is what determines you life path, then the cart is before the horse. 
     Our sails are set toward acquiring rather than relinquishing.  Getting instead of giving.  Saving instead of spending our lives.  We live this way even after we have been told in order to find our life we have to loose it.  To have we have to lay down.  I don't care how spiritual you are, that is hard to do.  To act in the present based on what God will show you in the future.
     Abraham teaches us a significant lesson in his response.
  1. He understood he would not get a raw deal.  He could leave country, family, inheritance, security and he would still come out ahead.
  2. He understood that obedience always heads us in the right direction.  He did not have to know where he was headed, he just had to know who he was following.
  3. He understood the blessing would not stop with him.  Blessings are always intended to spill over to others.
God, teach me to let go of everything that might block me from the "I will show you" moments in my life.  It seems our energy is spent servicing debts rather than serving Him.  What percentage of our money feeds the banks rather than feeding the hungry?  This is not an effort to beat us over the head with a spiritual club, but rather to acknowledge that somewhere along the way everything got out of whack.  "Serving God" is often held hostage by "debt, comfort and possessions."  What we do is dictated by what we have.   I AM GUILTY!
     My challenge for all of us is to set our sails toward a lifestyle that affords us the opportunity to serve more freely and to give more generously.  Life will be fuller, more meaningful and God will be more pleased.  It is not an easy road to travel, but the right one.  JOIN THE JOURNEY.

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