Summary: When God speaks to us to do something, we often fear the risk of the invitation. Sometimes we refuse to take the first step because of not knowing the entire plan. What can we do about the invitation He gives us?
Iliff & Saltillo United Methodist
January 23, 2005
“The Risk of the Invitation”
Romans 4:1-5; 13-17
INTRODUCTION: Throughout our lifetime we are offered invitations of one kind or another. When we were in elementary school it may have been to a birthday party, or in high school to the prom. We might have an invitation to go someplace, or an invitation to accept a job offer. Every time we are given an invitation there are risks that go along with it. Did you ever think of it that way before? I didn’t. Many times we refuse to accept the invitation because we are afraid we can’t handle the risks that go along with it. We won’t accept a new job because we are afraid we can’t do it, won’t go on a trip because we are afraid the weather will be bad, won’t go into a new group because we don’t know anyone or are afraid they won’t be friendly. Handling the risks of the invitation is often more unsettling than we realize. It raises our anxiety level. It causes us stress. How often do we miss out because we refuse to venture into the unknown. We also miss out on what God wants to make out of our lives because we won’t risk accepting an invitation where we don’t know the total plan before we begin. How many of you are like that?
In this new year perhaps God is calling you out of your secure comfort zone and familiar routine, offering you an invitation to greater service for him, but you hesitate, pull back, cling to what you can fully see. Maybe you have never become a Christian in the first place because you feel it is too risky. You might feel your life would have to change too much. Can we accept His invitations and handle the risks? Today’s scripture speaks about these concerns.
In Genesis 12 an account is given of a man who received an invitation from God. He was not a young man, but the invitation came to him after he was established in his life. He had a home in a place called Ur. Scripture speaks of his father, Terah, and brothers, Nahor and Haran. He had a nephew, Lot. His wife was Sarai. He had accumulated many cattle and belongings. When the invitation came to him from God, he was 75 years old.
Abram was not forced to accept God’s invitation. He could have said, “I really appreciate your offer; but I am settled here, and I believe I will decline. I’m already 75 years old and I think it is time that I slowed down a bit. My family all live here and I don’t want to leave them. Maybe I can’t get myself re-established somewhere else. I wouldn’t know anyone.” We don’t know what all was going on in Abram’s mind when the invitation came to him.
God simply spoke to him and said, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to a land that I will SHOW you.” Then he added some promises to that. In spite of the promises attached to the invitation, it may not have been an easy decision to do this. I believe we will also face invitations as God works in our lives that will not be easy to receive. Why?
1. Might have to give up the security you now have.
2. it might not work out--might not like it.
3. might result in stretching you beyond what you want to be stretched.
4. might have a lot of what ifs...
What if things don’t pan out like I thought?
What if I can’t make it financially?
What if I miss God?
What if I can’t pull it off?
Have you ever felt like this? Abraham may have looked at the invitation, the promises and the risks just like we do today and he had to make a decision--does he go or does he stay? What will it be?
STORY: A young man is an avid listener to the city’s police frequency, and he leaves the scanner on all the time.
One morning while making his bed, I heard the dispatcher say, "Car 34,
there is a five-foot boa constrictor in a front yard. The resident
wants a policeman to come and remove it."
There was a long pause, then some static.
Slowly, a voice said, "We can’t get the car started."
What did Abram do??? Scripture says, “He departed.”
1. Risk of the Invitation: God was clearly calling Abram out of his comfort zone. The risk was that of being changed and transplanted. He was being uprooted and forced to face a new set of problems in the journey. He faced separation from his family and left the source of protection he had been used to. The reason God called him out of that land was because that his country had become an idolatrous place and even his father’s household was a constant temptation to be swayed toward idolatry. Research says that even his father, Terah, served other gods (Joshua 24:2). Idolatry had such a foothold there that God was wanting to get him out of his current environment so he could do a new and different work in his life.