Going Where?

Reading: Hebrews 11.8-10
Where are you going? What is your goal? Where will it get you - one year, five years, ten years hence? How will another generation, a hundred years hence, sum up your life?

We think back to some three or four thousand years ago to Abraham, and celebrate him as a man of faith, also called a "friend of God".

The Long Trek

Imaging trekking overland with your family and all your possessions over unsealed and often unformed roads from here to Cooktown, passing as you do through foreign countries, different cultures and language groups .

It is said that Abraham didn't know where he was going, and when he got there he still hadn't arrived! He was still a pilgrim to somewhere else! Abraham didn't know where he was going, but he knew how to get there! Does that seem a contradiction? Then I shall repeat it with emphasis - Abraham_didn't know where he was going, but he knew how to get there!

In one sense the goal was Canaan - that was the promised land! Yet there was far more! And the two great qualities of Abraham's life guaranteed that the goal, though so dimly grasped by him, would be realised - he lived "by faith"; he was the "friend of God".

He Lived by Faith

"Abraham, you're crazy! The sun and the moon are our gods here! Stay here in Ur! Don't go on this crazy quest!" Abraham believed in God.

"What's this big crowd of men and women, children, camels, goats, sheep? Some crackpot moving through? Says there's another god, does he?" Abraham believed in God.

He was the Friend of God

In Isaiah 41.8 the Lord speaks of "Abraham, my friend". What a remarkable testimony about this man! His life was outstanding for the closeness of his relationship with the Creator God.

It was not just that his life was fired by some idea that had gripped him, that he believed or that he had a better or truer belief. Rather, he had come to know the God who is - to speak with him in prayer, to hear his voice of revelation. That's why he ventured out in faith.

He lived by faith. He was the friend of God. He didn't know just where he was going, but he knew how to get there!

And What about Us!

Where are you going? What is your goal? Where will it get you? How will another generation sum up your life?

For us there may well not be the long physical trek that marked Abraham's life of faith. But we are all called to a life of faith. Life is a pilgrimage. Yet we all face the temptation to settle down into the life of the here-and-now. Instead of living by faith we want to rest content with our tangible, visible achievements.

A house, a home, material goods, financial security... is this the goal? Too easily we settle down in the complacency of where we've come so far. Too quickly we want to sink our foundations into the soil of the pilgrim's path. God still calls us further on ahead!

We have not reached the final destination. The God of our forefathers, the God who has brought us thus far, calls us on, a new generation. He calls us to learn to live by faith in him, as part of his family, as his friends. God calls us to a pilgrimage - we haven't arrived; we must get up and press on.

"As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end" (Heb. 12.1,2a).

© Peter J. Blackburn, Maroochydore Uniting Church, 18 January 1994
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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