Successful Journey

Genesis 24:10-21

10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” 18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. 19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

Canada Geese

Have you seen Canada geese around lately? Spring time is just around the corner. The arrival of geese signals planting season. Right time to plant, cultivate, fertilize, prune and harvest won’t be ignored by expert farmers.

Expert or not, it’s time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Time is coming nearer when He comes again and takes us to our heavenly dwelling. While waiting for His 2nd advent, expert or not, we’ve got to plant seeds of faith more actively and testify of what the Lord has done in or life.

It teaches us in James 5:7, 7Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

Expert farmers know the right time to harvest. While they expectantly wait for great harvest, they cultivate, water, or fertilize their plants.

Similarly, living a lifestyle worthy to be called children of God exhibits hope we have in Christ. When we believe in Jesus as Savior, we also expect to be with Him in heaven. To have faith in Him is practically exemplified in trusting that His words to confirm our spiritual designation or mission.

Our assignment is written in 2 Corinthians 5:20, 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

We are commissioned as ambassadors of the King of kings. As Christ’s representatives, our mandate is to declare His message. As we fulfill our duty as Christ’s ambassadors, we also hope for successful journey into this world.

Abraham commissioned his senior servant to find a bride for Isaac. The senior servant was like Ambassador representing Isaac, the son of Abraham. The story is a practical illustration of our spiritual journey. We are also commissioned to find a bride for the Son of God, our Master.

The church is the Bride of the Lamb, the Son of God. Of course, we’re part of the church, so, we’re part of the Bride of the Lamb. Nonetheless, our mandate as Christ’s Ambassador has similarity to the servant’s mandate.

When the servant asked Abraham about the possibility that the woman may not be willing to come to the promise land, we also face a similar question, “What if they won’t like to come with us to eternal life?”

What was Abraham’s response? He implied that it’s not the servant’s obligation to worry about the result. If ever the woman won’t be willing to come to Canaan with him, he will be released from his obligation. Similarly, we shouldn’t worry about results when we go and make disciples.

Christ declared in John 20:21, 21Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

Christ our Master commissioned us as Ambassadors to represent Him, and His peace accompanies us when we go and make disciples. Again, let it be emphasized. “Peace” is with us when we make disciples. “Peace” from Christ that surpasses understanding sustains us with much needed rest.

Jesus said in John 12:49-50, 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.

Abraham’s servant was commissioned to get bride for Isaac, the son of his master. Similarly, Christ said that whatever He said has come from His Father, therefore, God the Father has commissioned us as Ambassadors to make and bring disciples to church, the Bride of the Lamb, the Son of God.

It is very proper to learn from the expedition of Abraham’s servant.

1. Expedition

10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

The servant reached his destination. In his expedition or journey to get a bride for Isaac, he brought with him ten camels. Why ten? In Hebrew, the number ten signifies testimony, law, responsibility and the completeness of order. God gave the 10 Commandments. In a sense, 10 represent keeping the commandments responsibly. A tithe is a 10th of our earnings which practically testifies our faith in the Lord. When the servant reached his destination, it’s a practical proof that he was responsible and honest. Even when nobody checked on him, the honest and responsible servant was a practical blessing that God gave to Abraham.

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Christ is particular with honest service. In Luke 16:1-2, 1There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

When the rich man learned about the dishonesty of his manager, he demanded accounting. The manager failed to keep his master’s trust on him.

Similarly, by faith, we believe that all things we own come from God. God controls life. When it’s time to leave this earth, we bring nothing with us into eternity. In short, we’re just managers of God’s resources.

Christ emphasized responsible service in Luke 16:9-129I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Abraham entrusted much wealth to his servant. The servant could have run away with the camels and the good things and started his own life and be freed from serving Abraham. In the Bible, camels were designated to carry valuable goods. How much does one camel cost today?

The value of camels used for racing starts from $55,000 to millions.

The faithful and honest servant did not entertain having his own life outside his service to Abraham, why? When God blessed Abraham, the servant was also blessed. His life was safe serving his master Abraham.

Expect life to be safe in Christ our Master as we serve Him honestly.

2. Expectation

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

God blessed Abraham to become blessing to others including servants.

The servant learned how to pray to the God of Abraham. He must have heard when Abraham prayed. His prayer was specific. He expected God to grant success to find a wife for Isaac, the son of his master Abraham. He believed that his success was God’s favor to Abraham.

Although, Abraham instructed him not to worry about the result of mission, the servant desired success of his journey. He appealed for God’s kindness not for him but for Abraham’s sake. He may have heard that God promised blessings to Abraham, and he used that as basis of his expectation.

Similarly, we can have success in spiritual journey and our mission to go and make disciples. Christ our Lord promised His presence to be with us as we go and make disciples. Many believers can testify that they sense the presence of God while sharing the gospel and teaching disciples.

Christ our Master orders us in Luke 10:2, 2The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Machine vs. Manual

In the Philippines, farmers in the highland or mountainous regions harvest manually. In the lowland, farmers harvest using machines.

Just as harvesting method differs from different regions, witnessing methods differs from different generations. Evangelism Explosion (EE) has been successful evangelism tool to a particular generation. We tried used the same witnessing approach in this generation but different result. Of course, we don’t discard EE but we’ve got to discern and explore other methods.

I’m passionate with EE because I’ve experienced success with it, and, the current Evangelism team leaders were trained in EE. Interestingly, they also served in “Campus Crusade” which uses “Four Spiritual Laws.” I asked, “Did God let them elected in Evangelism team to explore other methods?”

3. Exploration

15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” 18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. 19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

The servant observed Rebekah carefully. He saw that Rebekah was beautiful but he did not immediately jumped into conclusion that she was the right woman for Isaac. Instead, he explored possibility, if the woman would responds according to the answer he expected, in which she did.

Earlier, the servant specified what answer he expected. The answer he expected was not about beauty. If the woman gives him water and offers to water the camels, that was the sign that the servant expected as answer to his prayer for him to know that God gave him success to his journey.

Rebekah offered to water the camels until they had enough to drink. It was more than what the servant expected. That’s much greater virtue than beauty. Rebekah never asked for payment. Her beauty was an added bonus.

That’s the kind of generous lifestyle we wish to see among church members. That’s the kind of goodness and kindness that the Spirit Christ produces in believers. Doing more than expected is God’s grace at work.

Philemon

When Paul appealed to Philemon to take Onesimus back, he also expected Philemon to do more than what he asked him. Paul wanted to see God’s grace at work and displayed in the life of Philemon.

It says inn Philemon 17-21, 17If you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

Onesimus was Philemon’s slave. He escaped and met Paul somewhere.

Onesimus may have also stolen from Philemon. Philemon forgave and accepted Onesimus not as slave anymore but as brother. Bible interpreters suggest that Philemon has even promoted Onesimus as manager of his business. Paul expected Philemon to do more than what he asked him.

Can you believe that God’s grace can work in the heart of your boss to grant more than what you deserve just as God’s grace worked in the life of Philemon and granted more than what Onesimus deserved?

When God’s grace is working in our life we also do more than we are asked to do. It says in Colossians 3:22-25, 22 Obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

Such is practical proof that God’s grace was at work in Philemon’s life. Such was the goodness of Rebekah when she gave water to the servant and to the camels until they have enough. Such is the lifestyle of the woman the servant desired as bride for his master’s son. Such is the kind of believers that God expected to be part of His church, the bride of the Lamb, Son of God.

It says in Matthew 13:39-40, 39The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.

As we wait for harvest time, when angels of God separate those who accepted eternal life and those who rejected it, how are you doing in your spiritual expedition, your spiritual journey so far?

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of our mandate.

We are mandated as Ambassador of Christ to proclaim His death and resurrection until He comes.

Let’s pray for God’s leading in our spiritual expedition, expect peace that Christ has promised to be with us, and explore God’s grace at work in the life of individuals whom the Lord has chosen to be His disciples and to be added to His church, the Bride of the Lamb.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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