God’s Everything Through Your Nothing
Aug 16 12:30 AM

God’s Everything Through Your Nothing

Aug 16 12:30 AM
Aug 16 12:30 AM

by Bill Lawrence, President of  Leader Formation International

Have you ever thought of what it takes to become God’s kind of leader? I mean a truly great leader, a leader with an intense relationship with God, a leader who trusts God when it makes no sense to trust anyone let along God, except that He keeps His word when you can’t see how He’s doing it. Let’s say you become a leader like Abram who became Abraham when trusting God made no sense at all. He’s often like that, you know. He makes no sense. His promise is strange at best. Abraham, who was Abram originally, gave up every position, every achievement, every opportunity, every future, he didn’t even know where he was going, and he didn’t have anything when he got to Canaan in obedience to YAHWEH. Why go from everything to nothing? That’s what it looked like when he when he went from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan. God promised that He would have a nation, but all he had was a cave where he buried Sarah and himself in their deaths. It was centuries before the nation came into being, and then only after slavery and battles and desert and tribes and utter trust—and long after he died. Only then did YAHWEH keep His word.

Consider a few of the men who became God’s greatest leaders and look at the struggles the Lord took each of them through. Men like Moses and Samuel and David and Jeremiah and Peter and Paul. And women too. Ruth or Deborah or Mary or Elizabeth or Lydia. Then consider the questions that will help you understand how you can go through the same struggle that a man like Joseph went through to learn how to become a great leader. My hope is that you can form growing leaders to become the kind of men and women who become more effective for Jesus.

To become one of God’s greatest leaders Abraham had to turn from any opportunity to have a great position in Ur and Babylon and emigrate to a little-known territory known as Canaan where he settled in a place near Bethel. He owned no land of his own until Sarah, his wife died, and he finally obtained a cave, where he buried her and where he also was buried. Hardly a great achievement, and that was all obedience to God brought him. There was only loss for him—no profit. If you were looking at Abram’s Wall Street chart, his profit line was red, yet God sees him as one of the greatest profits He ever had. It appears that it was costly to become God’s kind of leader. After all, following YAHWEH moved him from having everything to having nothing. Maybe God doesn’t know now to make great deals. Or maybe what we think of as a great deal isn’t as great to Him as it is to us. And what looks like a loss to us is actually a profit for YAHWEH.

It cost Abram what position and power he might have had or hoped to gain in his home country. It meant that he lost what his heritage promised him from his family and possible influence offered to him and his wife.  He lost all possessions, all recognition, everything that was theirs. They had nothing but the word that a strange God they chose to trust promised to give them. Their trust was radical and total, and they acted on it and followed His direction no matter what they faced.

Consider this question. How do you respond as you decide to be His kind of leader? How much could you raise and consider? Think of this and then think about what you face as you form others to become the leaders God is calling you to influence.

While the text doesn’t tell us what Abram felt when God directed him to leave a place of prosperity and move to an unknown territory. Abram had no knowledge of where he was going, yet he obeyed God anyway. Perhaps he had already lost everything in Ur. How would you feel in such a situation? Would you do what he did? Why? Could you obey the way Abram did?

Are you facing such a situation now?

If you are, what does this mean for your family and your followers? How do you plan to answer the questions you know they must have had? What questions have you answered for yourself?  What biblical passages have helped you at this time?

Notice that his name was Abram, not Abraham. What does that tell you about him? Consider yourself at this time in your life. Have you made the same progress as Abram? What steps must you take to be an Abraham rather than an Abram?

Consider your family. Would they go with you if God called on you to make the same kind of decisions Abram made? What would your wife say to you if you told her God had directed you to do what Abram did? And how would your children make that kind of decision? How must you change to become that kind of man? Do you want to be that kind of man? What if you don’t want to be that kind of man but God does?

These are primarily the implications for your family. What about the implications for your followers and those you influence as you seek them to grow as leaders? What steps must you take for them to become the kind of leaders God wants them to be? How much of a price are you willing to pay to form them into the kind of leaders the Lord wants them to be? What about the people around you? How many of them are willing to become the kind of followers and leaders it demands for there to be God’s kind of movement through all of you? What steps must you take? What kind of prayer do you need? How much sacrifice must you make? How much influence have you earned to make the difference God wants to accomplish through you?

In the past 4,000 years, Abraham has been God’s everything through his nothing. All he ever had from the hand of God was a small cave, a grave for him and Sarah, yet he has influenced millions of people for thousands of years. A leader.

God’s leader—His everything through your nothing!