I love this story from the Bible. It’s from Genesis 12 and it’s about a guy named Abraham. Abraham is 75 years old, and has lived in this particular town all his life. He’s got a nice life, nice family and he knows everyone in town. He’s comfortable!
So God comes to him and says, “Abraham, I want you to leave your hometown, and I want you to travel to this land that I’m going to show you.” God didn’t even reveal the end destination – He just told Abraham to get moving. The Bible says that THE NEXT DAY, Abraham loaded up and moved. As a pastor, I can’t help but share with you a principle that I see in this story, in fact, I see it all throughout the Bible.
The blessings of God always follow obedience and risk. Let me say that one more time… the blessings of God always follow obedience and risk. In other words, we obey and risk first, then we’re blessed.
As I reflect on my past thirty-seven years as a pastor, two significant steps of risk and obedience come to mind. Leaving the comforts of a known situation and moving our family a thousand plus miles away from our nearest family to a new city to start a new church with two other couples was one of those times. It was God’s call. It took obedience. It took risk. Blessing has followed.
The other memorable call and then the step of obedience and risk was purchasing land for the new church. Three city blocks, 48 individually-owned pieces. Land-owners spread across two continents, three countries, three provinces and twenty states. Experts reminded us it had never been done and couldn’t be done. We were cautioned that someone in the center will hold out and ruin the whole project. Huge risk. Next to impossible. But obedience. Risk. A decade of persistence, perseverance and prayer. Twenty-five years later, we are enjoying our beautiful 14 acre campus that blesses the families of our entire community every day of the year.
Here’s how we normally think… “If God would give me a raise, then I would be generous.” But it doesn’t work that way. “If God would give me some financial blessings, then I would obey the Bible and do that 10% tithing thing.” That’s not how it happens.
We obey God, even when it’s tough, even when it’s hard, even when it makes us uncomfortable. That’s how faith works.
Abraham went on to become the father of a great nation – the Jewish people. He was famous, blessed and important. God blessed him with a family. In fact, the Bible says that all the people on the earth would be blessed through Abraham. But none of that happened until after Abraham obeyed and risked everything to start on an unknown journey.
My life is filled with blessing because I’ve repeatedly obeyed and risked. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at God’s faithfulness and blessing the past decades. But the exhilaration of soaring in God’s blessing has only come when I’ve been obedient and taken a risk.
QUESTION: What one thing is God is asking you to risk? If its too personal to share, please share a story of the past where you are experiencing blessing because you where obedient and took a risk. Thanks!