"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going" (Heb. 11:8, NASB).
We may refer to God's revealing Himself to Abraham as Abraham's "calling." Our verse says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called ... " All greatness may be traced to one's calling, and so with Abraham.
One interesting thing about the call to Abraham was the promise of greatness. God said to Abraham, "I'm going to make you a great name." (See Genesis 12:2.) And yet the very thing that made God angry with regard to the Tower of Babel was that people were going to make a name for themselves. Is there a contradiction?
God is not against greatness—as long as He is the architect of it. He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Pet. 5:5). But if we are thinking of making ourselves great and building a name for ourselves, we will be fighting against God. One of the most common temptations for a Christian, especially if he is involved in Christian service, is to think he must build up a certain image—or build up his name, as one would do in show business.
The parallel between show business people and some Christians in the Lord's work is one of the most ominous signs of 21-century Christianity. God promised to make Abraham a great name, but not before Abraham was ready. Indeed, Abraham had much to go through before he was ready.
As you read these lines, God may be calling you to greatness. You may think you are the most insignificant person on earth. But God delights in making men great—provided that He is the One doing it. He created all things "out of nothing" and continues to make men great who hold no promise whatsoever.
Excerpted from Believing God (MorningStar Publications & Ministries, 1997).