Today we read the story of God calling Abram (later known as Abraham), the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. With a legacy that has spawned these three global faith traditions, one could say that Abraham made a great name for himself.
Given Abraham’s prominence, we might think that God is privileging Abraham above everyone else. In actuality, God’s blessing of Abram is the polar opposite of “Abraham First;” God blesses Abram not for his own success but so that “[he] will be a blessing to others.” This responsibility to others is reinforced every time God describes the covenant with Abram as extending to all of Abram’s ancestors and descendants. God is interested in the well-being of the whole: God promises the land that Abram is seeking not to him but to his descendants (15:17). Moreover, God inflicts the nation when Abram prioritizes his own well-being over that of his wife Sarai.
It may surprise us that Abram is willing to go to such great lengths for the greatness of others. This sort of greatness contradicts the mainstream American insistence on self-sufficiency and superiority. However, God blesses us not for our own sake but for the sake of others, and asks that we humbly share whatever we receive. This sort of faithfulness requires that we, like Abram, develop a deep cultivation of God’s radical abundance. Only from the perspective of sharing abundance can truly seek the well-being of all.
Prayer: May I trust in the abundance of God
Reflection: Where am I clinging tightly to the things I have been given? How might I faithfully respond to God’s abundance?
Painting: “The Guests of Abraham” by Julia Stankova