“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going—by going out to a place, which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” – Hebrews 11:8
On June 20, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson penned a fascinating letter to Captain Meriwether Lewis, who served as his person secretary. I want to focus on one paragraph that really capsules what he was calling on Meriwether Lewis to do. He said, “The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado, or any other river, may offer the most direct and practicable water-communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce.”
Why was this important to Jefferson? He had just purchased for the United States what is known as the Louisiana Purchase. It composed land of 15 entire and partial states of the Midwest and the West. That is a large chunk of real estate, and he paid the astounding price of $15 million dollars. Stories like the pioneers Lewis and Clark have fascinated me all my life. They had a spirit that still appeals to a lot of Americans.
Well, Abraham, who was told by God he would be the father of many nations. He is the ultimate example of the pioneer spirit. God called and, by faith, Abraham went, not knowing where he was going, much like Lewis and Clark. They were called by a President. Abraham was called by God. But for both, it took lots of faith to venture out, having no idea where they were heading – no idea what challenges they would face.
Let’s look at this through a more contemporary lens: John works for a multi-national company. One day, out of the blue, his supervisor comes to him and says, “John, we are going to send you to a new place.” He says, “Where?” The supervisor answers, “Well, I can’t tell you. But I want you to sell your house. Take your wife and your family and head southwest. Keep your cellphone on, because when you get where you are supposed to go, we will let you know.” I’m sure we would all be unsettled by this calling, yet, he trusted his supervisor, and went home to tell his wife. Imagine this scene: “Honey, we’ve been transferred.” “Where are we going?” she asks. John hesitates and says, “Well, I don’t know. They said to head southwest and they’ll let me know when we get there.” I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing that would be a pretty tough sell!
What we need to absorb from this story is that Abraham trusted God and was willing to obey. He proved his faith through obedience. He was willing to go. Now, that may not seem significant to you, but it is of extreme importance to God. For it’s in our willingness to trust and obey that God can do mighty things in and through our lives. Will you be willing to go wherever God leads you to go? If you do, you’ll be a true pioneer in the journey of faith. What an adventure it will be!