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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today’s Reading | Genesis 12:1–9

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb. (NRSV)

I can remember when I packed up everything that I owned in this world, with only one hundred dollars to my name, and moved to Chicago from the state of Iowa. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to you that I was scared out of my mind to move from a town of 70,000 to a city of 7 million, where I knew few people and had little employment prospects. Yet that was sixteen years ago, and here I am.

I am often amazed at the pure and complete acceptance of some of the call stories in scripture. Here in Genesis, Abram hears God’s voice and simply acts. No thought; no questioning; no list of pros and cons; no calling a parent, friend, or relative for advice. Abram just packs up his family and all that he has and goes where God has sent him.

In addressing my own call to the vocation of ministry, I return to these call stories often. In my personal life, they prompt me to consider when and how I am listening for God in my own life. What I realized in seminary is that I was the master of keeping God in my back pocket. I was guilty of creating a God of convenience, of praying the thanks when I was up but neglecting that God was also equally as present when I was down.

I can only tell you that the minute that I gave myself permission to take God out of my pocket, my world was changed. My out-of-pocket God is taking me places that I couldn’t have dreamed of.

Gracious God, thank you for your voice that shines through each of us. May we strive to hear it all the more often in our lives. Amen.

Written by Mark Eldred, Worship Coordinator and Interim Director of Adult Education

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