I’ve been reading a lot about Abram lately. Seeing the call of God in his life as both humbling and encouraging because Abram didn’t just live life. Life didn’t just happen to him. He lived a big life and what made it big was the call of God.
The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household, to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse;
And all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 11:27 – 12:9
God said, “Go from your country” and the literal translation in Greek says, “get yourself out” or “go yourself.” It doesn’t say go if you want to or go if you feel like it or if you’re comfortable. It says go, I will bless you, that you may be a blessing. God clearly has a plan to use Abram.
It says too, “to the land I will show you.” Abram had to have faith in the call of God. Often times we make idols of our own comfort. We feel perfectly fine in our hometowns or in the towns of our universities and we can’t be bothered understanding or ministering outside of our comfort zone.
Hebrews 11:8 says “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Even though he didn’t know where he was going. How radical is that? That God said go and he went. Abram wasn’t like, “Well I don’t know about that God, I’ve got a lot more friends and family here and I’m comfortable here where everybody knows me so, I think I’ll stay.” Haha, could you imagine? It’s comical to think of someone responding to God’s call in this way, but we do it everyday.
It is so missionally radical that God blesses us, only that we may be blessings.
Really, the call of God shapes us so we can ask, “Where can I most be a blessing?” Right now there are people in your life who need you to tell them the truth about something. That’s the only purpose of our friendships. God blesses you and I so we can be blessings to each other so His kingdom will grow. We worry to follow His call because we fear we will lose our security at home, when realistically, our security is in Him alone and He will be with us wherever He calls us. We won’t be going anywhere without Him.
Tim Keller said, “The call of God works to the degree you are willing to get out- out of the familiarity and out of your comfort zone.” We have got to have courage and follow Christ and we really need to start acting like Christians.
It’s funny because now that I’m living in Scotland, sometimes I think, “Holy cow, I stick out like a sore thumb” and other times I think, “maybe we aren’t so different after all.” The point of all this though, is to say that God has called me to depart from my culture, yet, I’ve found God here just the same.
When Christians depart from their original culture, Christians can never first of all be Asians, or Americans, or Russians, and then Christians.
Christians are always Christians, followers of Christ, first.
When Jewish Christians in Jerusalem heard of Greeks conversion they thought now that the Greeks are Christians they need to be culturally Jewish- but Paul said, no. They are Christian Greeks.
They are Christians before they are Greek.
“The courage to break his cultural and familial ties and abandon the goals of his ancestors out of an alliance to a God of all families and all cultures was the original Abrahamic revolution. In the same way, Christians depart from their original culture. Christians take a distance from the gods of their own culture because they give their ultimate allegiance to the God of all cultures and His promised future… When Christians respond to the call of the gospel, they put one foot outside their culture while the other remains firmly planted in it. Christians, distance is not flight from one’s original culture, but a new way of living in it because of the new vision of peace and joy they have in Christ.”
–Miroslav Volf on Abrahamic Revolution
See, it would be so easy for us as Christians away on missions to think, ‘I’m a Christian now, I want nothing to do with you’ or rather, to stay in your culture and say ‘I’m this first and Christianity is sort of a peripheral hobby.’
It would be so easy to be a Christian first and foremost in a culture that you didn’t know because otherwise it would be quite difficult to be Scottish before you’re Christian. Although, if I were home, it becomes all too easy, scary easy, to be an Auburn student first and then a Christian. This is why it’s tricky.
You have to be Abraham: one foot in your culture, yet a transformed member of that Christian culture because of the missional experience outside of your home culture.
You’ll be able to critique your culture and not be afraid to stay in it.