After Lot left, the Lord said to Abram, “Look north, south, east, and west of where you are. 15 I will give all the land you see to you and to your descendants for an indefinite period of time. 16 I will also give you as many descendants as the dust of the earth. If anyone could count the dust of the earth, then he could also count your descendants. 17 Go! Walk back and forth across the entire land because I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live by the oak trees belonging to Mamre at Hebron. There he built an altar for the Lord. – Genesis 13:14-18
God tells Abram to do it. Nehemiah did it. David urged it. Jesus did it at least once. And Yogi Berra once commented on it: You can see a lot just by observing. The question is, “What will you see?”
I took a tour years ago of a large church in another state. The pastor showed me the remarkable and extensive facilities. He spoke of remodeling and renovation processes as well as future plans for expansion – including purchase of a public school building across the street from the church. It was amazing and inspiring.
As we were touring I noticed a stack of printed sheet packets. They were the minutes from a recent voters meeting so I took one. I was curious about how they chronicled their efforts and plans. Sitting in my airplane seat on the way home I took out the voters meeting minutes. And was I in for a surprise! Amid all the regular reports of various boards and committees was a paragraph(!) on whether to spend $400 on repairs to a boiler used to heat the building.
I don’t deny that being a question worth considering – even in sunny warm climes. But I’m not sure it’s worth a paragraph in the minutes – much less a (10 minute?) conversation in a voters meeting. There was scant little in the minutes about future renovation plans, ministry outreach programs, or evangelistic goals. You can see a lot just by observing!
To be fair the pastor was leading this church in a robust outreach mission. They were a great blessing in their community. His willingness to take me under his wing at that time was commendable. I was very new in ministry then, and needed to learn to see the “fields that are white for harvest” (cf. John 4:35).
God told Abram to survey the land because he had given it to him. It would be his. He would raise a family there. Their descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth. Take it all in. Don’t lose sight of what is I’ve promised you. Don’t ignore that promise. Don’t fail to plan for what I have in store for you.
This is a good reminder for us as well. That means we need to look to the promises of God for eternal life. That makes the book of Revelation so valuable. Not as a book about freaky visions and mysterious symbols. But as a book of promises: God’s ultimate victory. A city splendid in every way being let down from the heavens. The desire of God for all people to experience his gracious presence. The glory rightfully due to Jesus fully given.
Those things put into perspective all that we face on this earth. Keeping them in mind as we face temptation, tribulation, suffering, or discouragement will serve us well. For the day of God’s promises in Jesus will arrive. We don’t want to spend our time ignoring the needs and blessings of this life. Neither do we want to ignore the promises of God for the life of the world to come. Take a good look at those promises as you navigate the here and now.
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