September 7, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’”
“Go!” With one word, God changes the life of one man and his family, and through them the whole world.
“Go!” God doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t begin with a preamble to soften the blow. Rather, he tells Abram to leave just about everything that had given him security and identity in life: his country, his people, and his home.
“Go!” God doesn’t even tell Abram exactly where he will be going, though the context suggests that they are headed to the land of Canaan (11:31). Still, the narrative implies that God didn’t show Abram in advance exactly where he would be headed. Canaan was, after all, a fairly big place.
I read this passage from Genesis with both a fearful shudder and a pulse of excitement. I can’t help but think of where I was exactly one year ago. In the previous week I had visited Fuller Seminary in order to document the amazing work of God there through the leadership of Fuller’s new president, Mark Labberton. In the course of my conversation with Mark, he mentioned the possibility of my coming to work at Fuller. In typical fashion, I explained to him why this was really impossible. Yet, something in me was stirring. I knew that if I ended up hearing God’s call to Fuller, it would be one of the most exciting and unsettling times of my life.
A year ago, I wasn’t ready to hear God say “Go!” Rather, the Lord and I were wrestling with whether or not I would be open to hear this command. It took a while, with both wonderful and painful experiences along the way, before I was ready to hear and respond obediently to God’s call. I know in my head that when God says “Go!” it’s always best to go. My heart, however, loves what is familiar and secure. Yes, I want an adventure. But I don’t want to leave my “country, kindred, and father’s house” in order to have one. Perhaps you can relate.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue to reflect on God’s command to Abram to go. For now, you might consider the following questions.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever had an experience that was rather like that of Abram? When? How did you respond?
What are the things that might keep you from hearing or responding to God’s call to go, that is, to do something new and different in your life?
Gracious God, sometimes you treat us gently, guiding us patiently. Sometimes you just say “Go!” Thank you for being involved in our lives, for speaking to us, for choosing to use us in your plans for the world.
Lord, help me to hear what you are saying to me today. Help me to have the courage and faith to respond with obedience to whatever you say to me.
Today, I pray for those in my life, perhaps those who will read this devotion, who are wrestling with your call, perhaps literally your call to go. May they trust you and your goodness. May they respond with obedience, even with joy. Amen.
Image Credit: Hokusai – Inume Pass in the Kai Province (public domain) via WikiArt.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.