The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” So Abram left, as the LORD had told him (Genesis 12:1, 4).
Abram, whom God would later rename Abraham, was a man of wealth and status. He lived an established life of comfort in his native land of Ur. He owned many heads of livestock, significant amounts of land and had servants to tend to his every need. In many respects, he lived the ancient Middle Eastern version of the American Dream.
But Abram was also a man of great faith, and therefore God promised to bless his offspring and make them into a great nation (Genesis 12:2). Abram’s heart was not held captive by his home or his possessions. When God called him to a new journey and a new life, one full of mystery and many uncertainties, Abram did not hesitate in his response. He promptly packed up his family and his belongings and plunged into the great unknown, relying only on God’s goodness and a promise that he would honor Abram’s faithfulness in leaving behind temporal comforts in exchange for a legacy that would resonate for all eternity.
Hebrews 11:1-2 describes faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” and goes on to remind us that “this is what the ancients were commended for.” Abraham received commendation and blessing for his faithfulness in following God when he had no idea where it would ultimately lead. God’s blessings are reserved for those who exercise faith in him. Faith is the key for establishing and maintaining relationship with God. Through the faith of his people, God overcomes the impossible and reveals his power, sovereignty and love.
In Matthew 19, a rich young man approached Jesus seeking after what he could not purchase with his vast wealth: eternal life. In the end, the young man’s response to God’s calling differed greatly from Abraham’s, for he could not bring himself to part ways with comfort and security in order to attain that which is greater. The path to eternal life literally stood before him that day, offering freedom from bondage to that which does not last, and yet the rich young man could not muster the faith to grab hold of it, and instead settled for much less than what God wanted to give him.
Today, God seeks those within whom he can plant the seeds of his calling, and then he waits to see how each person will respond. The gentle urging of his Spirit calls us to hand over the reins of our lives and follow his leading into the great unknown, where we will find the life of abundance that God designs for every person who chooses to trust in his goodness and promises, just as Abraham did.
The path of faith will never be clear or without struggle, and there’s no road map to identify where the next rest stop lies. But this is by divine design, so that when those milestones of faith are reached we can fall to our knees in awe and wonder at all that God has accomplished in and through us as he honored our faith in him each step of the way.