May 03, 2009

Leave, Go

Genesis 12:1-9

“Leave your country … and go to the land I will show you.”
Genesis 12:1


A friend once said that in our day there are many “global nomads,” people like tumbleweeds who love to roam. Tourists of all kinds seek out exotic corners of the earth. In my generation drop-outs trekked to Katmandu to find enlightenment in coffee shops in the shadow of the Himalayas. Today there’s an emphasis on ecotourism, in which travelers show respect and sensitivity to the people, society, and environment of each land they visit.

Many of us have an urge to travel to faraway places and try new things. For example, there is something in me that would like to paddle a kayak along the coast of Baffin Island in the far north of Canada, gazing at icebergs, seals, and orcas.

Four thousand years ago, God commanded Abraham to leave his home and go to an unknown land. He had lived with his father’s clan in the land of the Chaldeans, which could boast the most ancient civilization on earth. And because travel was difficult and dangerous in those days, God’s command probably didn’t sound appealing. It may well have seemed like a sentence to exile.

Abraham’s call to leave his homeland came from a source unrelated to the tourist’s urge. The missionary in a far country and the Christian in his or her homeland hear a similar command: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (see Matthew 6:33).

Lord God, give us the desire to help the peoples of this world come to you. When we feel restless, be our dwelling place, as you have been to all generations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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