If we even believe in God, we may think that He is only concerned about our Do’s and Don’ts and is cringing at our failures. Is that how it really works? ♦
Apart from all of creation around us, we can’t comprehend God even close to accurately if we don’t access His other revelation, namely, the Scriptures/Bible. Apart from that, we may be prone to believe that he’s the “Big Guy in the Sky” or distant puppeteer or some “cosmic killjoy” or the product of our imagination or one massive group spiritual psychosis. Certainly if not cautious, one may allow his or her thinking on the matter to be overly influenced by friends, family, teachers or cultural messages all around us in television, movies, advertising, and social media.
Why would we do that?
No reason other than we don’t take the time to read and probe and study and seek to understand this Book that everyone talks about but few understand. Instead we daily do our Do’s and Don’ts and assume God is keeping score. And if you ask people, their list of Do’s and Don’ts may vaguely recall the Ten Commandments, which most could not recite today anyway. It’s more about being a good person, being accepting of others, helping your fellow man, etc.
Is that how it really works?
If we allow ourselves to even believe in God (or our image of a Higher Power) we may think that God is only concerned about these Do’s and Don’ts and must be cringing at our failures. Perhaps our good deeds outweigh the bad and He’ll cut us some slack in heaven, if that even exists.
See how it gets pretty muddled? Let’s approach this from another angle.
A Really Good Normal Man
I had an opportunity recently to meet and hear the personal story of one businessman/entrepreneur. This engaging humble, good man, runs a non-profit organization in an underprivileged part of town that trains, mentors and connects young and old alike in technology and business. The free sessions are led by volunteer mentors from some of the leading high tech firms in the world based here locally in the Silicon Valley.
He’s one good man, doing very good things. He shared his story with a group of 150 people last week at a Silicon Valley Christian networking event.1
He spoke frankly of his humble origins from a good family in the Pacific Northwest and how he found his way to Stanford University as a student and basketball athlete. His Christian upbringing and faith in God led him but did not keep him from some serious mistakes and consequences. He persevered then and perseveres now as he seeks a path that serves others in the community that is good and noble.
Tunde Sobomehin personally knows the God of creation and the Bible. He’s a good, normal man seeking to humbly serve the will of his Creator in the midst of busy life.
Another Really Good Normal Man
I had the privilege of introducing Tunde to the group before he spoke. Knowing his story, I took the opportunity to make the connection between two really good, normal people: Tunde and Abraham. Yes, that Abraham. The story of this other good man, Abraham, of course is delineated in the Bible over several chapters of the Book of Genesis. Abraham is introduced in Genesis chapter 11 and continues through chapter 25. The implications of his life are actually spread all throughout the Bible and through human history.
I believe there are 5 characteristics about Abraham that actually are mirrored by Tunde, as well as each and every one of us:
- Abraham was a normal man. His family line is introduced in Chapter 11. There is nothing special about him nor his family that led him to play such a pivotal role in human history. He was not special by any means. Judging from his actions and reactions, he was actually just like any of us.
- God selected and engaged him. God approached Abraham and gave him instructions to follow. It may very well be that God spoke to Abraham via a physical manifestation or through an audio voice in his head. God speaks to each and every one of us everyday via thoughts, the written Word, voices of others, and prayer. We just may not be paying attention or open to the idea that He selects and engages with each of us. That’s our problem.
- Abraham believed and obeyed. Abraham was given a vision of a future line of descendants too numerous to count. At the old age of 75 this was unbelievable news. Yet, “Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6) Abraham didn’t really understand what was going on, but he believed in what God said and obeyed his instructions. He did not know where it was leading him; he just acquiesced to God.
- Abraham made mistakes. If you read the Genesis account we find that Abraham made some serious errors and miscalculations along the way. Like Tunde, we too make mistakes in spite of our overall good intentions. It’s the plight of normal people. Some of these errors and mistakes can have huge implications and consequences that are costly and painful.
- God still used Abraham. Nevertheless, God has a plan and works through very normal, imperfect but believing people who, like Abraham, seek and follow Him with all of their heart, mind and soul. God blessed Abraham and worked amazing things through this normal but imperfect believer. If we believe and follow God wholeheartedly, God blesses and can work His plan, not ours, through each and every one of us too.
We all are normal people. God has revealed Himself all around us in creation, in the rich, deep and fascinating Word of God, the Bible, and through the manifestation of Himself in human flesh, Jesus Christ, a literal human descendant of this normal man Abraham. All the peoples on earth truly have been blessed by Abraham and his line of descendants.
Why be confused or muddled about how God works? His amazing plan, from Genesis through Revelation, is right before us.
Are you normal like Abraham?
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household…and I will bless you…and you will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:1-3
1 Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast Networking Event, Tunde Sobomehin, May 16, 2018, http://www.svpb.org.