Recently, I was studying some of Dr. Chuck Swindoll’s messages that dealt with qualities associated with great Bible characters. For the next few weeks you and I will be exploring some of the traits associated with a few of the great men of God. Hopefully, we can glean from these biblical leaders’ ideas that will inspire personal growth in all who read these messages.
Abraham was considered the Pioneer of the Faith. At the age of 75 he left everything that was familiar to him and he and his wife started over! He demonstrated his great trust in God by moving into uncharted territory with only one guarantee in hand – that God would be with him.
Throughout his life, Abraham learned a lesson we would do well to learn: Following God doesn’t have to be complicated. Neglecting to follow God is what complicates and destroys a life. Abraham’s willingness to walk with God demonstrated that this was the way to be truly blessed.
From Gen. 13-14 we can find four characteristics of Abraham that we could adopt into our lives. After writing this devotional I had to ask myself some questions that are reflected in the following points:
- Abraham was genuinely unselfish. He was a very rich man; however, he acknowledged the source. His heart was right before God. He offered Canaan’s choicest land to relatives. It was obvious to everyone who observed Abraham that others came first. Today, we would say, “He had a servant’s heart.” Do you have a “servant’s heart”? How often do you think of others before yourself?Some noted theologians have stated that many of today’s Millennials seem to be a generation of “entitlement”. They expect much, are not willing to work as hard as their parents did for it, and are not particularly grateful when they get it.
Some would say that this generation sees life through the eyes of “it’s all about me”. We must remember Christ’s example of serving others first. “He who wants to be first will be last”. (Matthew 19:30; Matthew 20:16) “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
- Abraham was willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. After Lot had moved to Sodom a rebellion arose against the kings of the region. When Abraham heard that Lot was in trouble, he could have reacted with indifference, but Abraham engaged the kings of the land and won victory over the enemies and refused to accept one thing for his efforts. When was the last time we did something big without expecting anything in return? The greatest gift of all is TIME. Have you given some of your time to others without expecting something in return?
- Abraham acted out of pure motives. I believe this truth is displayed in the words, “I have raised my hand to the Lord… and have taken an oath” (Gen. 14:22). His pure motives allowed him not to be tempted with the spoils of Sodom; he was able to stay true to his commitment to God. Let’s not allow the slick operators of our day the opportunity to tempt us with worldly goals.
- Abraham demonstrated extraordinary restraint and power. Even though he could have forced his commitments on others, he chose to keep them between himself and his God. But in coming to terms with his own commitments, Abraham was openhanded enough to say, “look, it’s my choice, but it may not be someone else’s.” And by making that choice, he let his life serve as an outstanding example to others.
St. Francis of Assisi said it best, “Preach the Gospel at all times, use words when necessary.”
Have a great week as we all try and incorporate these qualities into our lives.
How can you apply the traits that helped govern Abraham’s life to your life?
What does it mean to have great faith? Read: Hebrews 11