Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Guarantees

Gen. 24

You know the story...Abraham doesn't want his son to take a wife from the Caananites, so he sends his servant to a land likely unknown to the servant and says, "Bring home a wife for my son from my family's descendants."  Oh sure!  I'll just trot into downtown Timbuktu and look up "Family of Abraham" in the phone book.  No problem, Abe.

Can you imagine the stress this poor servant felt during his journey to Abraham's country?  The entire way he must have been wondering how on earth he was 1) going to even find Abraham's family and 2) convince them to send their daughter to an unknown land to marry an unknown man.  But he went, with no guarantee of success, to do as his master commanded.

No guarantee of success.

Have you ever heard the motivational phrase, "What would you attempt to accomplish if you KNEW you couldn't fail?"  Like that's somehow supposed to get me over the fear of failure...just imagine complete success and go for it.  I think not.

We know the end of this story, how Rebekah is the answer to the servant's prayer and agrees to go with him to become Isaac's bride.  But what if she had not come?  Too often, I skip to the end of the story before giving the plot a chance to thicken.  Rebekah comes, so why ponder on what would have happened if she had not?

Only today, as I am pondering my new journey, what happens if I don't succeed?  Today, I don't know the end of my story.  There is no neat, tidy ending I get to read.

And God says to me, "Did the servant obey Abraham?"  Yes.  "Is it possible to succeed through obedience regardless of the final outcome?"  Uh...

Look back at this story.  Abraham gives his servant an out in vs. 8, "But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath..."

If I am honest, I am the kind of servant who, given this out, gets halfway down the road and, after imagining every possible reason my mission can't possibly succeed, turns around and says, "Sorry, Lord, but this was doomed from the beginning."

Well, perhaps it is doomed.  I may spend the next twenty years working at these goals and never accomplish a "successful" outcome.

But obedience to the master is success regardless of the final outcome.

Until next time,

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