This morning the reading for Lenten study was the story of the calling of Abraham. (Genesis 11 & 12) Abram, his name at the time, and his wife Sarai lived in Ur. If you have taken ancient history you would know that one of the great pieces of ancient architecture from this area is the Ziggurat at Ur. Ur was a city in what we know today as Iraq, and was quite close to the Black Sea. One day God told Abram to pack up all his goods and chattels, his wife and all the household and head west. Along with his father and his nephew Lot, this is exactly what Abram did.
If your boss came up to you tomorrow and told you to pack up everything you had and head west I bet you would have a lot of questions and would at least ask for time to consider it. Where will you be headed, what is the job at the other end, do they pay travel expenses, will there be a raise involved? Abram didn’t ask any of this. We know that he ended up all the way at the other end of the Euphrates river, against the Mediterranean Sea and then headed further south. There were no trucks, no professional movers, this was going to be a long walk of around 600 miles and not a feat to be scoffed at!
I don’t know what I would do if I was called in this way. First, I hate moving! I have really done all the moving I feel I ever need to do. Second, I’m pretty sure my husband would wish me luck and say that he is staying right where he is.
Think of the kind of faith God was expecting from Abram! To pick up all you have and head off to an uncertain destination and an uncertain future on the basis of a couple of dreams and the promise of God.
I think the reason this came up in the context of Lent is that we need to be thinking about our faith and just what it might mean for our lives. Things are not always rosy. Your faith may end up costing you comfort, security, friends, etc. I believe that we receive calls to action a lot more frequently than we think we do and we fail to recognize them or fear the change and resist them. Who couldn’t come up with a list of justifications for not moving to another town, another job, etc?
Are you ready to extend your faith this far? Pray like the man whose daughter was dying and had gone to Jesus for help, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)