“God never places burdens on His people’s shoulders without giving them the power to respond. God’s biddings are His enabling” – Griffith Thomas
Sometimes a calling from God can feel more like a burden than a blessing. Last year, our family moved to a new town. To make a long story short, it became apparent that moving was a must for us on many accounts.
If any of you have ever prepped a house for sale, you know how hard that is, especially if you do the work yourself. And we did! From painting, cleaning, fixing, downsizing, packing, and the like; let’s just say it was exhausting. Mind you I was working full time and commuting three hours a day. Then when the house went on the market, we had to live like perfect people. Everything was so clean; you could eat off our floors! It was truly ridiculous how we lived. The house didn’t sell in a day like some; no, it took three months.
There were many times I just wanted to give up! To top it all off, we made absolutely nothing on our home of 11 years. Instead of receiving monies, we paid $388 to sell the house. Miraculously, God blessed us with the ability to purchase a home in our new town 100% financed.
We felt strongly that God was in this move. It was His idea. When I wanted to quit, God reminded me of His calling; His word inspired me with the power to keep on going. But I must say, there came a moment when I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore and God sold the house! God knows your breaking point, and He comes through every time. (At least that’s been my experience.)
Selling this house was a stage of faith! The odds were against us. But God was for us. We settled in our new home and praised Him for His provision! Our burdens became our blessings.
A Man of Burdens
Stepping in faith and then many more on his journey, Abram followed God’s bidding. The call on his life created four burdens that Abram turned into a blessing. How did he do this?
The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan.
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time, the Canaanites were in the land. But the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your offspring.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.
From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped Him. Then Abram journeyed by stages to the Negev (Genesis 12:1-9).
#Burden One: Abram was 75 years old! And God asked him to leave his home and family and go to God knows where (literally). In his day 75 was middle age. By this time in life, people start to slow down. Their strength and health begin to fail. They are tempted to become comfortable with the mundane. But not Abram! No, his life mattered right up until the day he died. Age was not a barrier to stop him. His middle age was a launching pad to greater things.
Each stage of life offers us the opportunities to serve God.
When you are young, you have energy. When you are middle age, you have skills. When you are old, you have wisdom.
It all matters. I’m not one that is planning numerous vacations when I retire. Heck no! I don’t even plan to retire! My idea of a full life is a full schedule. And certainly, living a mundane life is doing life dead. Who wants that?
Abram lived for purpose, not pleasure. And so can we!
#Burden Two: We note that Abram had a mass of belongings and people that he had to pick up and move. Moving is a huge undertaking, as I mentioned earlier! Abram knew that when God calls, He also provides the means and the strength to do it. Abram’s eyes were not on the feat ahead; they were on honoring God.
Where God willed, Abram went. Let’s do the same!
#Burden Three: Ever live by some bad neighbors? The Canaanites were a huge threat. They did offensive things; their religious worship was pornographic; they had children for the sake of passing them through the fire in tribute to their god, Moloch; they had a low view of human life, anything was allowed from murder to bestiality. In the face of intimidation, God promised Abram that this land would be given to his offspring regardless of what he saw.
God silenced the threat with promise. And He can silence yours!
#Burden Four: Lastly, God’s calling required stages. God’s vision for Abram’s life was not a one swoop event; it was a progression of many steps of faith.
Each stage for Abram was a call to believe God. The same call is for you, too!
I bet Abram had a couple of doubting moments. I think this is one of the reasons he built two altars while on this journey. In His grace, God reminded him of His faithfulness. In worship, Abram fought the battle to give up, and he gained the power to carry on.
It is in these stages we find ourselves tempted to doubt our calling and question God’s fidelity. But Abram teaches us to turn our burdens into a blessing through regular times of worship.
Worship, my friends! It will give you the courage to follow God with each stage of your calling.
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