Today's post is about Calling a People: Abraham, but before we get into that, I'd like to touch on "being called" and then we'll dive into the covenant theology of Abraham.
In a write-up for 9Marks, Tim Keesee discusses what it means to be called:
"This calling—this radical, death-and-life demand—has already been given to every believer. This stunning, cross-shaped call is better than a lightning bolt and more enduring than feelings or fleeces. Christ’s followers are, in fact, to follow him. They are too fully identify with him, fully embrace him, fully follow Him—whatever that will cost and wherever that will lead."
For anyone on the fence or not sure about callings from Christ to Go and make disciples of nations, this excerpt is a good reminder: "This calling-this radical, death-and-life demand--has already been given to EVERY (emphasis added) believer. We follow him, fully identify with him, fully embrace him whatever that will cost and wherever that will lead.
But hold on a second... don't start packing your bags yet. Let's take a look at another excerpt from Tim Keesee write-up:
"The missionary calling is not about us going so much as it is about us following in the bright wake of our risen King."
There it is! We couldn't have said it any better. A calling is not about us going so much as it is about us following Him, dying to ourselves (Matthew 16:24-25), setting your mind on the things of God, not on the things of man (Matthew 16:23).
A calling is in ALL believers. We must fix our priorities on His will in our lives, seek to bring Him glory, and succeed in furthering His kingdom. These are the core attributes in carrying out His calling in our lives.
Don't confuse a location as a missionary calling. In other words, that's putting the cart before the horse. A missionary calling is following His will in our lives.
Dictionary.com defines Missionary as a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
Sometimes a missionary calling will call you to other locations, but let us give you something to consider. If you're not being discipled or are actively discipling other people than going to another country with a different language/culture will create issues much larger than you can imagine.
Preparing before you go is key! This is why we hit on the Dictionary.com definition of Missionary. A missionary is a person sent by his or her church.
Let's take a look at another write from 9Marks - See What Would Happen if You Sent Your Best by Steve Jennings:
Unreached peoples are an urgent reality, but to reach them they need more than just warm bodies and boots on the ground. They need healthy, gospel-centered churches planted in their midst. And this happens when established churches prepare and send their best people to plant those churches.
Not only is there a calling in every believer, but it's our responsibility and the churches responsibility to prepare ourselves to exemplify God in whatever area the church see fits for us to serve.
Don't confuse this post as FPAM telling people to not "go" and spread His gospel. FPAM's mission is to Reach Equip Partner and Send. We want to Equip everyone with the knowledge and foundation to best carry out His will in their lives.
Ok, now that we've discussed "being called" let's take a look at a biblical calling. Matt Allen explains the covenant theology between God and Abraham in Module 3 - Calling a People: Abraham
Note: Recommended Reading: Genesis 15 & Galatians 3
Remember: Most of God's covenants, with mankind, are very unilateral meaning that He makes promises but does not hold the counterpart (mankind) to any conditions.
Back to the covenant between God and Abraham...
In the distant, ancient land of Ur, situated in Mesotopia, lived a man named Abram. This area, the cradle of human civilization, was polytheistic and had contrived a complicated system of gods to explain the creation of the universe and of humanity. The society invented gods and myths to explain man’s interaction with nature and the supernatural. In the midst of this society, God desired to again show mankind that He alone is the singular Creator and sustainer of the universe and that He desired not to be ignored, but rather to be acknowledged and worshipped. As such, God spoke to Abram and gave him instructions to leave Ur and set out on a sort of odyssey. In this way, Abram sets a precedent that God repeatedly follows: He calls a handful of special people out of the masses to show His love, power, and purpose. Just as God called Abram out of the darkness of Ur, He also calls Israel out of all the nations to be His special people. This pattern is again seen as Jesus Christ hand-picks 12 men to be His followers and uses them as part of His amazing plan to set apart a special people called the Church.
God’s covenant with Abraham involved two key promises:
- God would establish a nation through Abraham. This nation would emerge as Israel centuries later.
- God would give Abraham many offspring, and his seed will be instrumental in God’s narrative for revealing Himself to humanity.
The covenant that God established with Abraham is unilateral, in that God required nothing of Abraham. The promises God made to Abraham were not based on his merits, nor did it place conditions on Abraham that would result in rescinding His great promise.
There's a lot to unpack, but I want us to focus on the word odyssey. God spoke to Abram and gave him instructions to leave Ur and set out on a sort of odyssey. An odyssey typically means a journey. A trip that leads a person from one place to the next. "Being called" is an odyssey or a journey. A journey of acknowledging and worshipping God's love, power, and purpose and sharing with the unreached about His love, power, and purpose for their lives.
Back to Matt Allen's write-up Calling a People: Abraham. We bring to light the covenant between God and Abraham to show how God wants to use us to display His love, power, and purpose. He uses us to bring light into a dark world.
We don't get to choose where we spread God's word. He knows best where His word is needed. We must honor the process (discipleship and working with your church) by listening and preparing ourselves for the journey that God has in store for us, not the other way around the journey we want to take to spread His word where we feel it is needed.
Does your calling in your life exemplify His love, power, and purpose? Do you seek His guidance, understanding, and grace? Are you prepared to "go" wherever He chooses to send you?
Just as God called Abram out of the darkness of Ur, he is calling us out of the darkness of our worlds to display His love, power, and purpose. Start God's calling in your life by saying, "Yes, I'm ready Lord!" Don't worry about the where. He will take you to where He needs you to glorify Him and further His kingdom. Your objective in "being called" is to exemplify His love, power, and purpose to the people you will meet on your journey of carrying out God's will in your life!
Some advice on "being called" aka your covenant with God
1. God calls ALL followers to exemplify Him and further His kingdom.
2. A Christ follower should be mentored and also, when the time permits, start mentoring others.
3. Work with your Church to get involved in service projects and/or serve on ministry outreach boards, discipleship programs, or lead a small group.
Note: All of these options are you carrying out God's will in your life aka exemplifying Him.
4. If you feel that God is leading you towards the mission field, then meet with your mission board, at church, or if you don't have a mission board seek out your pastor or assistant pastor. They will help in training, guidance, and directing you towards the most needed areas your church services to spread His gospel.
Note: Don't forget the mission field can be in your neighborhood, schools, workplace, and even overseas or the next state over. Don't confuse God calling a people with having to be a missionary overseas. God calls us to His mission field be it next door, the next state over, or overseas.
Just as God selected Abraham to honor him, he is calling all of us to do the same. He will guide and direct you to the people that need His word the most. He has a covenant for all of us. One that will send us on an odyssey to show His love, power, and purpose.
Seek Him first above all else!
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!