I can’t decide if its the lack of sleep (ht to Jackson) that caused me to wake up asking myself these questions, if my “fasting from sleep” provided clarity on some things which brought these questions to the surface of my awareness, or if these are just really good questions that popped into my mind this morning after reading through some of the Gospel narrative on the way to the cross. You decide.
What is the difference between what I will do today and what I am about today? I have a lot of stuff to do. Work stuff. Personal stuff. Stuff I want to do. And stuff I need to do. But which of that stuff am I about?
With information, tragedy, and calls to action coming from everywhere in the world at once, am I called to take action globally or take action locally? (The sister question to this is: What can I actually do today to make the most impact for Jesus?) Because the idea that I’m supposed to respond to both is driving me crazy. How is that even possible?
Why is it the relationship between learning facts and changing my behavior? I know all of the facts about big things that need to change in my life but I haven’t taken a single step. Conversely, I tend to change the most on things I’ve just learned about. Why is that? If facts don’t change my behavior, what does?
This I do know and find soul rest in today:
When I live with my struggles I deal with them. I grow through pain. When I pour myself out to God, declaring my weaknesses, it reveals His strength.
[Abram bounces his head to the song as he pulls the phone out of his pocket.]
[Abram’s glances at the caller ID and stops cold. He raises his eyebrow for a brief second, thinking about letting it go to voicemail.]
Abram: Ah, man. I don’t really have time for this today. Give me a break… OK, whatever.
[Abram swipes to take the call]
Abram: [With a little frustration in his voice] Hello?
God: Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
Abram: You don’t even say hello anymore? For once it’d be cool if you would at least say who it is. [pause] OK, OK… what do you want me to do? Leave the country and go somewhere? What do you mean by “leave?” You mean go for a little trip? Or do you mean I need to pack up my house, quit my job, and move? Are you OK? Have you been creating planets again? A little more clarity would be nice here.
God: I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you.
Abram: [pausing, looking inquisitively at his dog, who just raised his leg to pee on a bush.] What does that even mean? You don’t even say hello, you tell me to leave the country…. and now, a great nation? All I ever asked you to do was to help me be a better dad. A great nation? I’m not into politics. I don’t want to become a great nation… I just want to now how to talk to my kids about the tough stuff… you know… sex and why the Cubs suck. Stuff like that. [Pause, catching up to the reality of who he’s arguing with.] Any way we can talk a little bit more about the blessing part of it and a whole lot less of this moving somewhere else bit? I mean… I’ve got my kids in a great school. There better be one heck of a blessing for me to talk about pulling the kids out of school. You know, I’ve got a wife. I’ve got to sell her on this idea. Blessing, yeah… talk about the blessing some more.
God: I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
Abram: [Letting out a little doubtful snort] You want me to tell that to Sarai? Have you met her? [raising eyebrows and envisioning getting punched when he tells her.] She’s pretty comfortable in our neighborhood as it is. She loves our house. She’s got a whole bunch of girlfriends. Our kids our happy. We’re safe. And you want me to go home and tell her that leaving all of that is going to make our name great? She’s gonna throw that back in my face, you know? And I don’t think I like the sound of “you will be a blessing.” I can’t sell that to her. She’s going to want to here that you are going to bless us. Not be a blessing, get a blessing. Work with me here, G.
God: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.
Abram: [turning his heart from despair, slowly to more of a realistic tone.] Well, now we’re talking. Sarai’s gonna dig this part of it. So when our kids start at a new school and the other kids tease them because they don’t look right, don’t dress right, and live in a neighborhood they clearly don’t belong… you’re gonna have their back. And you’re going to make it pretty obvious that people are getting blessed because they bless my family, right? I’m getting the idea that you aren’t asking me if I’m willing to do this… so you’re starting to speak my language.
God: And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Abram: [long pause, having been stunned into thinking deeply about those words] Whoa. OK… so what’s you’re saying is that if I go home and convince my wife to move from a house we love to a place to be determined later… that every person on the planet will be blessed through me? I’m not even sure how to respond. I guess I get to respond just by doing it, right?
[Abram realizes that God has hung up]
Abram: Hello? You still there? Yeah, I’m out here walking the dog… this canyon must have a dead zone or something. You’re breaking up.
[Pulling his phone down, he sees the screen displaying “Call ended.”]
[By this time, the dog has gotten tired of standing on his walk. So he’s laid down on his side. Abram puts his phone back in his pocket, stares off into the distance some more.]
Abram: [under his breathe] Yeah, easy enough for God to call me like that. Now I’ve got to go home and try to convince Sarai. How would God know? Not like He has a wife.
[Pulling on the leash and getting the dog going.]
Abram: Come on. Let’s go. Good dog.
Narrator: So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.