On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 89: Abram: One Steward’s Response

“So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.” (Genesis 12:4 RSV)

The twelfth chapter of Genesis begins with God appearing to a man named Abram. Without so much as an introduction, God tells Abram that He will bless Abram and his family. Further, Abram and his family will become a blessing to all the families of the earth. Abram is to take his family to a place God would show him.

Then comes an astonishing, if not unbelievable, three-word response: “So Abram went.” There is no argument. There was no questioning. There was no negotiation. Abram simply went. Many years later St. Paul would write of Abram’s faith (see Romans 4:16 and Hebrews 11:8,17). Abram’s response was simple and complete obedience.

We live in a world that misunderstands the blessings of God. How often have we heard some sports hero claim that God had blessed him or her to make that winning shot, or stop that game-changing goal in some championship contest? Did God not bless the opposition? Or did He withhold His blessing so that the hero’s team could win? Does God bless us to be successful in our businesses or in school or in whatever is our chosen vocation?

God was clear to Abram: “I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing … by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (Genesis 12:2-3 RSV). The blessing that Abram receives is to “be a blessing.”

Christian stewards recognize in God’s promise to Abram two small words. God offers to bless Abram so that Abram will be a blessing. It was through Abram and his family that God chose to bless the rest of humanity. This is a clear example of the way God works in reality. He does not pick and choose those whom He will bless to win a ball game or pass a test or get a raise.

The way God has worked and continues to work is the way He worked in blessing the entire world. Through one Person, God blesses all people. He sent His Son Jesus Christ in order that all would receive the blessing. Surely, God could have chosen another way. What has been revealed to us is that He did not.

God uses human agents, like Abram and Jesus to pass on His blessings. Today we might call such human agents “stewards.”

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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