All Abram received was a call to “go”
Look it up, Genesis 12:1.
God didn’t give him much more than that in the way of instruction. Just go.
But God made promises to Abram.
One of those promises dealt with the whole church: the promise that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Both Peter (in Acts 3) and Paul (in Galatians 3) point to Christ as the fulfillment of that promise.
But there are other promises that God makes. Among those other promises are “you will be a blessing.” (Gen 12:2) The command to be a blessing is reiterated throughout the New Testament:
- “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
- “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:12-28, 31)
- “Live such good lives among the pagans, that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that He visits.” (I Peter 2:12)
But here’s the kicker.
God didn’t command Abram to be a blessing. He promised that He would make Abram into a blessing.
We call that grace.
The calling of God in our lives is evidence of his grace. Grace is not simply about salvation; grace is that which empowers Christian living. By God’s grace we become what God is calling us to be.
And that leads us to the more neglected part of this little passage about Abram’s call: verse 8. After Abram obeyed God and went to where God directed, Abram “built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.”
Abram’s worship was not me-centered; it didn’t feature a warm winsome message. Abram didn’t go hear a genial motivational speaker put on a slickly produced show in which one could learn a few habits of highly effective people.
Abram called on the name of the LORD. He attended to God. In worship, he took his mind and thoughts off himself, and fixed them on God. Worship is a crucible in which we practice thinking less about ourselves and more about God.
Strangely, it is this practice that suits us to be a blessing to others. For it teaches us to see beyond ourselves to perceive the image of God in others.
The calling to be a blessing goes hand in glove with the call to worship.
Soli Deo Gloria