After hearing Pastor Scott’s message on Sunday about Abraham in Genesis 12 — and particularly with Thanksgiving almost upon us — some of our attitudes with respect to God and his blessings may need reorientation.
Think about it: Viewing God as withholding his blessings from us as his default position isn’t uncommon, even among Christians at times. That twisted notion that only when we’re really obedient, or really selfless, or really charitable, or really devout and consistent in prayer, then maybe — just maybe — God might see his way clear to release a blessing or two upon us.
Now, as we’ve already learned over the past few weeks, there are certain gifts and blessings God wants to give us but cannot because of obstacles we allow between us and him. But if we’re viewing the Lord as being stingy with his blessings like Scrooge at Christmas — and only when we perform admirably for him — we do need to get rid of that idea.
One thing that stuck out is Pastor Scott saying that God, in fact, has a shower of blessings waiting for us. It’s pouring out like a rush of warm water! But just as we can’t get clean unless we step into the shower and let the water hit our bodies, we can’t experience all of God’s blessings unless we position ourselves under him — where the blessings will fall upon us.
Another thing that stuck out is Pastor Scott saying God wants to “wow us” with his blessings. We can relate to that! If we find that perfect gift for a loved one, and that gift results in surprise and happiness on the part of the recipient — a jumping for joy moment — isn’t that a “wow” response? It sure is! And isn’t it incredibly fun and satisfying for us when we see such reactions to the gifts we give? We get as much or more joy from the act of giving. It’s likely very much the same with the Lord — but likely in a much deeper way with infinitely more “wow” attached that we can possibly fathom.
Abraham is certainly considered a biblical hero — and one of the reasons is that he chose to obey God and let the Lord lead him into a land he knew nothing about. Talk about walking by faith! Another aspect of Abraham letting God lead him like that is the pure adventure of it. And how much adventure are we missing in our lives today? Not just adults, but young people, too. One of the greatest parts of the Christian life is that when it’s lived in complete obedience to God — in total submission to his will — the Lord can then take believers on amazing, mind-blowing adventures. That’s how it always is when we walk by faith and not by sight.
And as Pastor Scott emphasized, receiving a blessing from God always means letting go of something. If we want to move on to the next level of our spiritual lives — to embark on the next adventure — that means leaving behind what you might be experiencing now. And that might be hard at times. Painful even. Indeed, such change is not always easy. But when you think about it, God is always in the process of changing us and molding us. So perhaps instead of resisting that change, how about asking, “Lord, how do you want to change me? What do you need me to do amid that process?”
The life of Abraham is a prime example of God not only pouring out his blessings on a person — but also doing so in order that the recipient can be a blessing to many, many others. That’s one of the biggest aspects of the adventure of faith God wants to take us on! Isn’t it a pleasure when we can bless others due to the fact that the Lord has already blessed us? And it’s not just about helping someone financially or in other material ways, either; it also means giving ourselves to others. Our time. Our love. Our compassion. Even sending someone a note of encouragement. Sometimes blessing others in less tangible ways is much harder and more challenging than adding to their bank accounts — and if so, maybe that’s exactly what the Lord wants you to do as part of the adventure of change he’s taking you on.
Still, let’s not forget that amid God’s blessings are challenges. Christians who’ve been around long enough don’t need reminding that we’re living in a broken world, and that not every day will be rosy. Even so, let us learn from Abraham and reorient the direction of our lives and remind ourselves that we’re indeed “strangers in a strange land” — that we’re only passing through this planet for a brief time in comparison to eternity. And anchored by that truth, may we hold on to “things” loosely, be generous with our time and resources, and be ready and willing to take that next step the Lord wants us to take, not knowing what’s coming next — but being faithful that God will be right there waiting for us at our new destination.