THE PILGRIM

Abraham’s story in Genesis is one of a pilgrim, and every Christian is called to be a pilgrim.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)

The writer of Hebrews expands on the call of Abraham and several lessons follow-

The pilgrim is asked to make a journey, which involves a movement from one place to another. Abraham was asked by God to leave the comfort and security of his father’s household and move. No pilgrimage is possible when a person gets comfortably ensconced in the habitat he is in. Yet it is only when you leave your comfort behind and embrace the difficulty of the journey that you get to your destination. Every now and then, God will ask of a Christian to be a pilgrim- to undertake a journey like Abraham and explore and conquer new land.

The call was to the promised land, the geographical description of which at the time of the call was hazy. And so the decision by Abraham to move was not based upon a calculation of the prospects of the promised land but on the unflinching trust upon the nature of God and his faithfulness. Every pilgrim starts the journey in darkness, for darkness always accompanies faith. When you are called to trust God, the details are anything but clear. But what is clear is the need to obey.

The pilgrimage is not easy. Abraham lived in tents and as a stranger in a foreign land. He experienced the insecurity, fear and doubts that came along. Yet, he was encouraged along his journey by God’s agents and also saw his wealth increase as he progressed. Abraham never saw all of God’s promises come to pass in his lifetime, yet as mind boggling as were God’s promises, they all came to pass in God’s time. And none of that would have taken place if Abraham had not heeded God’s call to move.

The pilgrimage here on earth is a reflection of our eternal journey. Our permanent home is not one that has a street address here on earth, but one that is in heaven. Abraham sought to build a city that was built on godly foundations- where God’s will took precedence over all else. The broader perspective of a Christian life is one of seeking God’s will and storing eternal treasures at the expense of worldly gain as one moves toward eternal life. And every pilgrimage for a Christian here on earth is but a shadow reflecting the reality of the true eternal pilgrimage.

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