Genesis . . . “Four Score and Seven Years Ago”
The life of Abraham is full of twists and turns. One of the amazing facts about this narrative is it begins with a man who is 75 years old and ends when he is 175 years old – one hundred years; just thirteen years longer than the age of the United States at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (which I contend is one of the greatest speeches ever given if not the best but I digress). God tells Abraham to load up the camels and donkeys and go west “young” man and remarkably he does. Over the next 100 years, we observe an imperfect man struggle with fear, shortsightedness, failure and family dynamics yet Abraham lands on the “A” list of men of faith. Immediately three things jump out at me to consider; 1) God is gracious and merciful; 2) God partners with and uses imperfect people to carry out His plan; and 3) It is never too late, as long as one is still on this side of eternity, to get going with God.
I have observed many people avoid “Jesus” and church because they wrongly assume it is all about “religion” and not relationship. They see “religion” as requiring perfect people living by the rules and doing no wrong so they see their shortcomings and feel disqualified. (There are those who do not want to follow anyone’s rules but their own so they don’t but that is better suited to a lesson to take from the Tower of Babel.) And there are always people who do come to church but are burdened with things, labor greatly to assuage the guilt and cannot connect. Abraham’s life illustrates it’s all about the relationship and not the religion since it is clear Abraham had plenty of struggles and failures yet he walked with God. God’s grace and mercy followed Abraham all the days of his life. Thus, for those who struggle with inadequacy, disqualification issues, and failure, take heart, God is about the relationship and not the religion. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Finally, it is not too late. Abraham began his true faith journey at the age of 75. Perhaps in those days, 75 was the “new 45” but I am thinking 75 is still 75. Encourage your friends who may be older it is never too late. This week we will bury my wife’s mother, my mother-in-law. Grace was 91 but it was only a few years ago she opened her heart to Jesus and stepped into relationship. My dad was in his later 60’s when he came to faith. But this is not only a story of it’s never too late to receive Jesus, it is also the story of it’s never too late to become engaged in service with Jesus. At age 75 God said the nations would be blessed through Abraham. Maybe whole nations may not be blessed through you but one child, one friend, one co-worker can be. I just turned 6ixty 6ix a couple of weeks ago. I am on Medicare and I am fully retired from paid employment. I am challenged that my relationship with Jesus on this faith journey is not a spectator’s sport. He is not just looking for fans, He wants players. Whether you are twenty-five or seventy-five, as a Christ-follower the choice is yours. Be in the game!