Genesis 12 begins the story of Abram, a man called by God to undertake a difficult journey to a foreign land with limited instructions and little detail.
Abram (Abraham) ended up listening and obeying God. He had his faith tested and strengthened along the way and was ultimately used by God to build a great nation, Israel, through whom God revealed and accomplished salvation for all peoples.
Like Abraham, adult learners are called by God to take a difficult journey through uncharted territory for the eventual benefit of the peoples we are called to serve. We have a lot in common with Abraham.
a. Abraham’s call initially consisted of only one set of directions (Genesis 12:1): go. It’s alright for us not to see the full picture of our educational journey. We “go” one class at a time, trusting God to lead us along the way.
b. The call required courage. Abraham came to understand the limits of his cognitive understanding. Similarly, intellectual work challenges us and forces us to reckon with what we don’t know as we arrive at a place of deeper wisdom and insight.
c. The call required obedience. Abraham wrestled with some of God’s commands (see Gen. 22). While God does not call us to a blind obedience to everything a professor tells us, we are expected to run the race set before us. This includes reading and following a syllabus!
d. The call involved his family. Abraham’s family was implicated in all that his journey entailed. We, too, have family, friends, and communities who partner with us in the good and bad we experience. We are not alone – and this can be both an encouragement and an ongoing responsibility that tests our strength.
e. The call requires sacrifice. Abraham yielded his time and stood to lose his earthly wealth in fulfilling his call. Similarly, we’re making an investment in God’s Kingdom by investing in our degrees. This means we sometimes forego other opportunities and pleasures in pursuit of God’s call.
f. The call was ultimately not about Abraham. Although he experienced the blessings of obeying God, Abraham’s story is really less about Abraham and more about how God was using Abraham to serve others. Our academic credentials are really tools for service. We should never lose sight of those we’re called to serve.
You didn’t think you had much in common with Abraham, did you? Are there are other biblical characters from whom you can draw encouragement along your journey?