"By faith Abraham..." This phrase was running through my mind when my cat woke me at 5:00 Saturday morning.
Abraham is known as the father of the faithful, but have you ever wondered what it must have been like to be Abraham? Have you ever wondered who he was before becoming faithful Abraham? And out of all the people in the world, why was Abraham chosen—what made Abraham noticeable to God? Why did God choose this man, in particular, to be the father of many nations—the father of the faithful? I found myself asking these questions on Saturday morning while I fell back to sleep.
I'm a mere commoner when it comes to reading and studying Scripture—I'm no scholar. But it is my understanding that there is nothing specific mentioned about Abraham before he began his journey to become faithful and father Abraham. We do know he was from Ur of the Chaldeans and that his dad was an idol maker. But there is no indication that Abraham was significant in any way. There is no reason for us to think that he had already been walking with God like men like Enoch. He was simply an obscure man from a land far away who was probably not even aware of God. Even so, he was called by God to fulfill His purpose.
I am fascinated by the fact that Abraham answered when God spoke to him. If Abraham had no prior relationship with God, how is it that he responded the way he did? If "crazy" was a thing back then, his family must have thought him to have lost his mind. He left everything he had ever known to go where he knew not nor had ever before been to obey a voice he had never before heard and follow a God he had never before served. And he was faithful. How astounding!
He wasn't called to be faithful because of meeting any criteria for perfection. As a matter of fact, once he began fulfilling his calling he made a lot of mistakes. But here we are today encouraged in our own call to faithfulness because of a man named Abraham.
Paul, also known as Saul, was kind of like Abraham. Yes, Paul was aware of God and even served Him as he knew how. But then he was called by a voice in a light from heaven to walk away from what he knew and follow the One whom he had worked so hard against. His dad was a Jew with Roman citizenship, so as a Jew he was known as Saul, but as the son of a Roman citizen he was known as Paul. Before his conversion he was a Pharisee, so he identified himself as Saul. But once converted he became the apostle to the Gentiles, so to be better connected he identified himself as a Roman citizen by using his Roman name, Paul. He did this so he would be easily received among the Gentiles for the sake of the Gospel. Paul, once a persecutor and murderer of Christ's followers, was called to become a Christ follower. And he followed faithfully. How astounding!
While I sit here considering all of these thoughts I have shared with you, I feel hopeful. I feel hopeful because I understand how insignificant and unworthy I am, yet I have heard the same voice Abraham heard and the same voice Paul heard. And that voice is calling me out just like He called out Abraham and Paul. And the purpose I've been called to fulfill is the same—be faithful. Just like He used the faithfulness of Abraham and the faithfulness of Paul to impact the lives they touched, God will use my faithfulness to impact the lives I touch.
It's not about how big the world is or how small I am. Nor is it about the number I impact—whether I impact a few or millions is not the focus. It's simply about God's plan and purpose. When God calls us, and when we follow, He makes us into faithful people. And, somehow, when we are faithful we make a difference. How astounding!